2014 Kuyen Carménère from Colquoa Valley, Chile

Carménère grape used to be a staple of the Bordeaux clarets but has been largely replaced in France by varieties of the Merlot grape for reasons of yield in the climate of the Bordeaux area, which attracts storms from the Atlantic. Carménère has been successfully transferred to the resurgent Chilean vineyards in the rebuilding since the boom and consequent bust following the liberalisation of Chile (including wine production) after the 1974 reforms under the Pinochet regime. European producers arrived in strength, including producers from Bordeaux including the Rothschilds. So although Chilean wine is mostly known in Europe for its exports of single grape wines, particularly Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir, there is production of other grape types which are not exported in large volumes; for example there's a fine Blanc de Noir, a sparking white wine from Pinot Noir grapes.

 Viña Ventisquero is a large winery in the Valle de Colchagua to the south of Chile's Central Valley, the area wasn't particularly badly hit during the earthquake of 2010 although there were losses. Kuyen implies this is a blend although the composition is not stated. Sourced from Tesco at about £6 per bottle

We were impressed by the strength of taste, a strong red fruit initial impression, richer and less forceful than a straight Merlot. A smooth after-taste with not a hint of bitterness, very pleasantly rounded. As the bottle aired, we enjoyed a sense of growing fullness and a slightly surprising but subtle complexity; I'm a not a fan of single grape wines so this was very welcome. We couldn't agree if this complexity is because this is a wine assembled from Carménère grapes from a number of vineyards contributing to the Viña Ventisquero winery or if there is a hint of another grape to stabilise the main Carménère.

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