Riding the Carmenere wave

September 21, 2005

First post in a long time., and apologies for my extended silence. The move-in saga progresses, and the level of moving-related chaos in my life is diminishing. I hope to get back to more regular posts soon.

In an effort to keep up with the trends being set by WineWineWine, I picked up a bottle of the 2003 Viu Manent Carmenere (Chile) at my local MLCC last night. For $11.05, I wasn’t expecting a lot but I was very impressed. To be honest, I was feeling cheap and didn’t want to pay the $11.30 for a bottle of the Casillero del Diablo Cabernet. So I saved a whole quarter by going for the Viu Manent instead. Lucky me. If I do that seven more times, I’ll have enough for a big cup of tasty coffee at the Fyxx.

In the glass, it showed off a beautiful deep purple colour, almost a stereotypical “wine” colour. The nose was very strong, with lots of tea and rich plumy fruit. In the mouth, there was a hint of green pepper on the finish, suggesting that the grapes may not have been as ripe as possible.

Typically, Carmenere ripens later, so this could be the case. But otherwise, it was fantastic. I typically associate plums with Carmenere, and this held true, although it was tempered by some black currant zippiness and an herbal flavour I couldn’t place. The tasting sheet suggests sage, which is pretty accurate. Plenty of chewy tannins and a nice long finish wrapped it all up very well.

At 14%, it’s probably better with food. I had a glass on its own, which was just peachy. But the strong flavours and the alcohol content make this more a “serve with food” wine than a “sip on its own” wine. For $11 and change, this is not only a steal, but it is also an excellent example of what Chile can do with Carmenere.

Funnily enough, despite its low price tag, I found this in the “Fine Wine” section of my local MLCC. Perhaps the local wine column is indeed having an impact, and $11 wines are being shelved in the back in favour of $8 wines?


  1. Fine wine for $11? Interesting but I do agree with your comment.

    Have you tried the Casillero Carmenere and how would it compare to the Viu Manet?

    I have been curious about both and was interested when I saw this post.

  2. I like the Casillero Carmenere a lot, but I think the Viu Manent is tastier and has a longer “counter” life.

    I find that the Casillero reds are best when first opened. After a day, they fade into boredom. The Viu Manent was still chock-full of flavour two days after opening.

  3. Mar here,
    googled VF Viognier-Marsanne & YOU are the first sight on the list.
    By the way Perrin’s websites need work, I wanted basic info on the wine and I found NADA.
    Sorry, just needed to vent.

  4. I agree on the green bell pepper notes, although I don’t necessarily see them as indicating an under-ripe condition.

    As to lasting, I first tasted this wine when it had been decanted nearly 24 hours. It definitely stood up.

    The company’s web site indicates 14.6% alcohol.

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