Carmenère, a hidden treasure

It is estimated that the first Bordeaux vines arrived in the Maipo and Cachapoal valley in the mid-19th century. Particularly the Merlot, a French variety that was very fashionable at the time.

Soon after, the Merlot vineyards in this area began to attract attention, as they turned an intense red color in autumn and the wine had a particularly spicy and velvety character, which set them apart from other expressions of the variety.

In the search to understand why this Merlot differed so much from the one produced in France and in other areas of Chile, winegrowers, particularly from the Cachapoal Valley, began to separate the plants. In this way, the healthiest and strongest began to be reproduced in new vineyards, acquiring the name Chilean Merlot or late Merlot.

This happened until 1994 when the French ampelographer, Jean Michel Boursiquot, verified that the Chilean Merlot was another French variety that for years was thought to be extinct: the Carmenère.

This variety, the Carmenère, was one of the most important components of Bordeaux red varieties, and in 1860, it suffered devastating attacks from phylloxera, a plague that destroyed entire vineyards in Europe, under the watchful eye of its owners who could not do anything. any. Product of this devastation, the Carmenère was practically extinct in the world.

This discovery or “rediscovery” of Carmenere not only surprised Chilean viticulture, but also the world, and for this reason, eyes have turned towards our country to understand how a variety as complex as this one has found in Chile, the perfect place to develop.

At the same time, we winemakers have learned enormously during these 25 years that certain care is required to obtain a good expression. An example of this is our Morandé Gran Reserva Carmenère, a wine made with grapes from our San Bernardo vineyard in the Maipo Valley, where the vine develops quite uniquely, combining structure and elegance with a fruity, complex character, that represents the best of this variety. Marked notes of black fruits, spices such as pepper, roasted red paprika, marrying very well with the notes of chocolate and graphite developed during its aging in fudres and French barrels. Likewise, we have had great surprises such as our Terroir Wines Carmenère-Malbec from the Maule Valley, it is a wine where the variety gives it spicy notes that give it a distinctive touch on the nose.

And it is that the rediscovery of this strain was to find a true hidden treasure, which has allowed Chilean viticulture to show diversity and unique character, turning Carmenère into a world-renowned wine, associated with Chile, which implies a great opportunity and a great challenge and responsibility.


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