Deep ruby color; black cherry, blackberry, blueberry, spice on the nose; black cherry, raspberry, blackberry, black plum, bell pepper, spice, mocha on the palate.
Dry; firm tannins, rusticity on pop-and-pour. Winery suggests decanting; so do I. Decanted after first sip. Balancing acidity (3.6 pH). Oak from 18 months in French barrels, 34% first use, 66% second or third pass. Held in bottle eight months before release for sale. Bold, tasty, good structure and concentration. Nice smoothness after decanting and some air time in large glass. Drinking window at least through 2024; 14% ABV.
Viña Ventisquero was founded in 1998 and now owns vineyards in Chile’s top regions: the valleys of Maipo (where the grapes for this effort were grown), Cochagua, and Casablanca. All Viña Ventisquero wines are made from grapes they have grown using sustainable farming techniques. Felipe Tosso is the head winemaker. In 2020, he celebrated two decades at the winery.
Carménère can deliver the meaty plumpness of merlot. For years Chilean winemakers thought their carménère vines were merlot. But also has the herbaceous notes of cabernet sauvignon. Not a surprise. DNA studies indicate carménère, merlot, and cabernet sauvignon all have cabernet franc as a parent. The DNA profile suggests an obscure French variety murál is carménère’s other parent.
Carménère is supposed to be Chile’s grape in the way malbec is signature for Argentina. It has not quite worked out that way because carménère needs to be done right to be good. It needs a long growing season and moderate-to-warm climate. If it gets too much water, the herbaceous and green pepper characteristics stand out. Those characteristics are plusses when incidental notes, but make for a rough drinking experience when they are not. Viña Ventisquero did well with this effort.
Viña Ventisquero “Grey” Glacier Trinidad Vineyard Single Block Carménère, Maipo Valley, Chile 2014 is excellent example of Chilean carménère. Enjoy the robust fruits and boldness. Pair with rich, roasted meats; lamb; pork; wild game such as deer and wild boar; pasta with tomato sauce. $20-22