(2018) Carmen was one of my first go-to Chilean producers, thanks largely to a wine called 'Grand Vidure', a real favourite of mine in the 1990s, and one of the first wave of Carmenere-based wines before the variety became established as Chile's 'signature' grape. Here we have Carignan, one of Chile's current superstar grapes thanks to old-vine plantings, this aged 12 months in French oak. There's an interesting melange of meat-stock cherry and vine fruit on the nose, a dark and savoury character. In the mouth it's very much about the fruit, quite sinewy and chewy, the oak well into the background, with a balanced savoury finish.
(2010) Whisper it, but Chile's neighbours across the Andes need to know that they don't have it all their own way with their signature grape. There are some fine Chilean Malbecs about. This comes from Cachapoal and has a certain meatiness on the nose, with baked plum fruit and quite a solid character. The palate delivers a flood of sweet and spicy black fruit, the chewy, grainy tannins, acidity and plum-skin bite of the fruit making a robust and full-throttle impact, though not without a little light and shade. A warming, spicy and authentic wine.
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