If Malbec is distinctly Argentinian then Carmenere (pronounced car-men-nair) is distinctly Chilean. Interestingly, both have a similar history in that they are French in origin and made their way to the new world and settled in South America. However, Carmenere pulled a bit of a “Where in the World is Carmen San Diego” and disappeared. Most people thought the common grape planted in Chile was Merlot. What is extra ironic is everyone kept asking “why doesn’t this Merlot taste like Merlot?”. And low and behold some genetic testing in 1994 later, it was revealed that what they were drinking was its cousin, Carmenere. Carmenere when 100% in a bottle is a bit of an enigma to many people’s palates. However, some adventurous oenophiles truly enjoy its nose of green bell pepper, raspberry, and peppercorns (some people also hate it, just a heads up). More on the fruity side it has soft tannins and decent acid to balance out a fattier or heavier dish. Perhaps its best attribute is affordability with wonderful bottles going for under $25. Especially be on the lookout for bottles Colchagua Valley and Maipo Valley in Chile.
Side Note: We only use accents in the titles of each grape because seriously who wants to hold down vowels on their keyboard every time they type….