A Carménère Beyond Compare 01/30/11

The last time I reviewed a Carmenere, it was pretty disappointing, and I fear I may have come off as being down on the varietal, which was absolutely not my intention. I’ve decided to atone for my sins by reviewing a much, much better Carmenere, produced by the same company responsible for the Casillero del Diablo series, which I previously recommended as an alternative to the wine I was actually reviewing.

Today I’ll be discussing the Marques de Casa Concha 2007 Carmenere, released by Concha y Toro, Chile’s largest wine producer. I actually purchased this (for $20) through wine.com, rather than taking one of my infamous liquor store excursions, because 2007 is considered a “historic vintage” for Chilean reds, which means the wines from this year generally turned out a bit better than usual, due to favorable weather conditions or what have you. Isn’t learning fun?

Here’s another fact for your collection: hidden within the Concha y Toro company name are also the clues behind the terrible secret of Don Melchior Concha y Toro, the founder of the winery. See, Toro means bull, while Concha is slang for vagina, and well, we all know what happens when bulls and vaginas mix…


Minotaurs. Don Melchior Concha y Toro was a minotaur.

But damn, those bull-people sure can make a decent bottle of wine!

nullIn the glass this poured a practically black, inky crimson with lighter red around the rim. The nose gave off aromas of blackberry, blueberry, melted chocolate and a hint of tobacco, while the palate immersed me in plush notes of dark berries, chocolate, black pepper, and interestingly enough, aspen wood. And no, I’m not some kind of wood-expert; I just tasted chopsticks, which are apparently usually made from aspen.

You may remember I criticized the P.K.N.T. Carmenere for being flat – and indeed, Carmenere is generally a lower-acidity wine – but this one managed to be lively while still retaining that essential character of the varietal. Tannins were gripping but not overpowering, and the 14% alcohol was well-masked by a spicy finish with lingering berry notes.

I award the Marques de Casa Concha 2007 Carmenere thumbs up. Believe me, I was sorely tempted to give it a 10, but I’ve actually become aware of two Concha y Toro Carmenere offerings at a higher price point: the Terrunyo series, in the $35-40 range; and the Carmin de Peumo series, tipping the scales at $100+. So it would be silly of me to blow my load so soon.

Also…you guys know I was just joking about that minotaur stuff, right? Because I totally probably was.

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