This Carménère is Barely Fair! 12/07/10
When you think of Chile, your mind most likely conjures images of earthquakes, trapped miners, or else that restaurant Chili’s (the latter is, incidentally, almost completely unrelated to the country). But people in the know (like me!) think of something entirely different. Can you guess what that is?
It’s wine, if you’re still guessing. We think about wine.
Today I’ll be reviewing the 2009 P.K.N.T. Silver Collection Carménère, an offering from Rapel Valley, Chile produced by the Terraustral Wine Company. This will run you around $7-10 and should be available more or less everywhere, making it quite a bit more accessible than the wines I’ve hitherto highlighted (sorry about that, by the way). I don’t know what P.K.N.T. is supposed to stand for, but it’s probably something stupid – or, possibly, nothing.
Carménère is now the signature red grape of Chile, but way back when, it was a common varietal in the Bordeaux region of France (along with the others mentioned in my first review), until the great Franco-Chilean War of 1867 wiped out most of the plantings. Carménère is usually full-bodied, low-acid and dry, exhibiting coffee, chocolate and tobacco aromas in addition to dark fruits.
This wine poured a dark purple, lightening to maroon around the rim. Tobacco notes overpowered the nose at first, but a hint of plum emerged from beneath it, and after some time, aromas of chocolate and what may well have been the blueberry promised by the bottle.
Upon sipping, I found pretty much what the nose predicted in terms of flavor profile: a little plum, possibly berry, and after breathing some chocolate. The tannins were nice, but unfortunately, the wine was a bit flat on the whole, and could have used some more acidity. The finish (ie, aftertaste) was also very short, and the 13.5% alcohol was easier to detect than it should have been.
I certainly wouldn’t call this a bad wine, but it’s not one I’d be too likely to buy again: Carménère-wise, I’ve had better luck with Concha y Toro’s similarly-priced Casillero del Diablo series.
I award the P.K.N.T. Silver Collection Carménère my lowest score ever: thumbs up. With such a trendy bottle graphic, and such a dumb hipster brand name, I frankly expected more.