VistaMar 2020 Reserva Carmenere
I dream of visiting Chile. As I was studying regions to become a Certified Specialist of Wine, I began studying Chile and was enthralled. This sliver of a country in the southern hemisphere stretches almost 2,700 miles north to south and is narrow, with only a few places that it is wider east to west than 100 miles.
Its northern end is the Atacama desert, one of the driest places on the planet, while to the south, you have the stunning Tierra del Fuego frozen archipelago, the Chilean Fjords, and Chilean Antarctica. What a fantastic array of climates.
Chile is one of South America’s most stable and prosperous nations. It has also been blessed in being phylloxera free (the root louse that wiped out vineyards across Europe) as far as grapes go, so own-rooted vines abound.
It’s not been that long since Carménère had its coming-out party. In 1994, this grape that had been in Chile for a century, which everyone had believed was Merlot, was discovered to be Carménère.
This sneaky grape with leaves so close in appearance to Merlot had managed to escape France and head to Chile. Good thing too! Carménère in France was all but lost to phylloxera. Until the French ampelographer, Jean Michel Bousiquot, rediscovered it masquerading as Merlot in Chile, this grape was thought to be lost. Since then, more Carménère was discovered in Italy, where it was impersonating Cabernet Franc.