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Thursday, December 5, 2013

50 Shades of Grey

Carménère. What you might ask? Carménère, the grape, the wine. There’s a cool little bottle available for you to try. Originally from the Medoc region of France, Carménère was always blended into other wines, and, like the classic middle child who craves attention, Carménère needs some time in the spotlight. And ta-da, its time is now here! One wine writer whom I have never heard of referred to Carménère as “the Alec Baldwin of forgotten grapes.” I have no idea what that means, but in some existential way it makes sense. Made by winemaker Felipe Tosso from Vina Ventisquero in Chile (you know, the country in South America?) this happy little number has a boatload of zesty black cherry, rich red and black fruit, spicy pepper, and a slight bitterness, frankly a lot of shades to this wine. Aged for 18 months in French Oak to soften the flavor and give some structure, yes, there is a slight vegetal element waaaaay in the back which normally I abhor (under ripe fruit and all) but weirdly it doesn’t detract from this wine. Carménère has softer tannins than Cabernet, but also a solid acidity which works so much better with food than a lot of heavily manipulated, or redundant Jolly Rancher-fruity Cab. It’s actually closer to Merlot, but with a rustic, edgy quality that makes this version actually fun to drink. Yeah, fun – as in Alec Baldwin fun. So try something new and find this baby. There are quite a few wines under the Grey label, but this is the only one I have tried, and it’s a beauty. It's imported by San Francisco Wine Exchange into the U.S. market.  VINA VENTISQUERO
ORIGIN: Maipo Valley, Chile (Block 5 from the Trinidad Vineyard)

PRICE: $23.99 / 750/ml

ALCOHOL: 13.5%


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