Luma Chequén Gran Reserva Carménère, Valle del Maule, Chile 2020

Deep ruby color; red fruits, blueberry, raisins, prunes, plum, raspberry, bell pepper/peppercorn, chocolate, spice on the nose and palate.

Luma Chequén Gran Reserva Carménère, Valle del Maule, Chile 2020

Dry; amiable tannin and modest acidity. Light-medium body. Smooth mouthfeel, no sharp edges, easy drinker. Rounds out and loses some of it early herbaceous notes with time in air. For years Chileans thought their vines were malbec, and the error is easily understood as the two varietals are very similar. Carménère is more herbaceous. but Chileans have learned how to cultivate to reduce the greenness. DNA testing in 1994 sorted things out and now carménère is to Chile as malbec is to Argentina. Malbec easily pleases many palates, especially those skittish around more assertive, tannic reds. 13.9% ABV

Luma is a brand of InVina. InVina notes the Luma brand offers handmade wines selected from the best lots of InVina’s extensive vineyards. The juice ferments in small, temperature controlled stainless steel tanks and then ages for a year in barrel. The wine is 100% carménère from the Batuco Estate where cooler temperatures engender the blueberry notes and from the warmer Las Tizas Estate, which contributes the jammier, fruitier notes. Bottles are filled with minimum filtration to preserve the purity of the fruit flavors.

InVina founder and CEO Alex Huber

The website notes the InVina story: “InVina is owned by the Huber family, with more than 20 years of experience in Chilean viticulture and wine. We came to Chile in 1999 as because we saw so much opportunity to produce world class wines in Chile. In 2007 we chose to double down on our belief in the quality of Chilean viticulture and founded InVina, a 100% family-owned venture which focused on investing in and developing vineyards in the Maule Valley. Several properties were acquired, with a view of creating a project that reflected the diversity of the Maule Valley. New vineyards were planted, and old vineyards nurtured, applying modern planting and management techniques.”

The operation is directed by a family of very high achievers in multiple industries around the world. Alex Huber is the founder and CEO, but Richard Huber, Benjamin Huber, and Catherine Huber are partners and play various roles in the operation. Their very impressive bios are on the InVina website and worth a look. Winemakers include Camilo Diaz and Ed Flaherty.

Batuco Estate vineyard

Luma Chequén Gran Reserva Carménère, Valle del Maule, Chile 2020 is friendly, safe, juicy, affordable red pour, especially for folks fainthearted around bigger, bolder reds. If you enjoy merlot, you almost certainly enjoy this. Carménère has become Chile’s signature grape—although Chileans do classic Bordeaux varieties well, too. There are more cabernet sauvignon and merlot vines than Carménère, in fact in Chile. Still, Chile is the world’s primary producer of carménère wines. Pair with lamb; veal; smoked bacon; pork; lighter beef dishes, particularly roast beef; roast chicken; pasta dishes—spaghetti with Bolognese sauce; spicy dishes like chicken mole and Indian curries; roasted and grilled vegetables; excellent for comfort food—meatloaf, pizza, burgers and sliders, mac-and cheese. Cheese—hard, aged cheeses; goat cheese; mozzarella, pepper jack, farmer’s cheese, cotija, feta, parmesan. $16-20

InVina/Luma website

Las Tizas Estate vineyard
InVina winemaker Camilo Diaz
InVina winemaker Ed Flaherty