Viña von Siebenthal, whose fruity Carabantes we also stock, has its four main vineyards in the historical wine-growing area of Panquehue, a small sub-appellation of the Aconcagua Valley in Chile between the Andes and the Pacific Ocean. The semi desert conditions bring lots of sunshine and mean that vine diseases are rare. The vines are cultivated using organic farming principles and the yields are reduced to intensify the aroma of the grapes.
The Carmenère grape is most frequently seen in wines from Chile (and to a lesser degree from Italy) but it actually originates from Bordeaux though only a little is grown there now. It was recently found to be directly related to Cabernet Franc and indirectly to Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Carmenère is used for its perfume and flavour
and generally needs a relatively hot climate to ripen sufficiently; the Aconcagua Valley benefits from long dry autumns with little or no rain or hail. In this fine example, produced organically in a single vineyard
, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon has been added to provide acidity and structure
This 2014 vintage is concentrated with intense aromas and flavours but it is a little smoother which means I am moving it out of the big bold red wine category into rich spicy red wines. On the nose are ripe, sweet plums and blackberries with hints of blackcurrant, eucalyptus, smoky paprika and dark chocolate. Concentrated fruit flavours include blueberry and blackberry plus that same hint of smoky spice and chocolate.
This is a complex, medium-bodied wine that is very easy to drink on its own or with food including spicy dishes. The alcohol and tannins are integrated well resulting in a very smooth texture. If you slurp in some air the layers of flavours will unfold in the mouth. Very drinkable - enjoy!
Drink on its own or with hearty food; this wine will not fade in the presence of hot spices and dishes such as chilli con carne. Also beef and lamb casseroles, roast beef, lamb
Olly Smith has also written about how well this wine goes with curry: "Aromatic, plump and layered with delicious spice to champion curries all-round from masala to madras. Awesome."
"Our Gran Reserva embodies a high degree of complexity and delicacy: it’s the wine that Bacchus would carry in his satchel...
AROMA AND BOUQUET - This is an intense, complex wine of great character. The aromas that stand out include blackberries and blackcurrant intermingled with notes of cedar, tobacco, coffee and roasted hazlenuts.
FLAVOUR - A sweet, concentrated and full-bodied beginning is balanced with soft tannins and a long, elegant finish."
The Wine Advocate: "If I were awarding an Oscar for finest perfomance by a winery, von Siebenthal would be my winner"
88 points Robert Parker Apr 2017
"The 2014 Carmenere from the Valle de Aconcagua contains 15% Cabernet Sauvignon from a warmer year than 2013, which provided more ripeness. It's quite herbal and spicy with a note from the American oak used for its élevage (one year in French and American barrels)."