I am fast becoming a huge fan of Chilean red wines. I've had many delicious, flavorful, earthy wines for just over $10, including the Palo Alto Red Blend and Root 1: Carmenère I wrote about recently. I hosted a blind tasting party this weekend and asked friends to bring a bottle of wine covered in a paper bag. This 2008 Chono Reserva Carmenère from Chile's Maipo Valley was the second red wine we tasted; it blew all the others away and I couldn't wait to find out what was underneath the bag. When we removed the bag and learned it was a Chilean red, I thought right away, "I should have guessed!" The bottle notes say,
"Hand picked at the end of the season to obtain ripe tannins and elegant fruit. Malolactic fermentation was developed naturally in French oak barrels. The wine was aged for 10 months in French oak barrels. Bottled unfiltered to preserve all natural flavors and taste."
Bold aromas of tobacco, earth, chocolate, blackberry, and plum jump from the glass. The aromas carry over into the taste with simply delicious flavors of earth, tobacco, and blackberry. The earth and tobacco lead the way on the nose, and the flavors are slightly fruitier than earthy. It has a great mouthfeel of medium tannins, medium body (13.5% alcohol), and a generous finish.
It's designed to please and it delivers; I just love the earth and dark fruit. I will find this wine again and enjoy it with food or by itself.
Taste Rating: 9.0 out of 10 (Incredibly good! Buy a few bottles and daydream about them at work.)
Price Factor: Deduct 0.3 points due to the roughly $13 price tag