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Carmenere is a dark-skinned grape variety originally from the vineyards of Bordeaux, and which has found a particularly suitable home in Chile. A late-ripening variety, Carmenere needs high levels of sunshine and a warm summer to reach its full potential, but in the right environment, it can produce fine, deeply colored red wines, with the attractive meaty plumpness of Merlot and the gently herbaceous, cedary notes of Cabernet Sauvignon.
These similarities are not altogether surprising, as Carmenere is considered by some to be the "grandfather" of these Bordeaux varieties. Neither Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot gained much momentum in the region until the mid-18th Century, which raises the question of the varieties used to make Bordelais wines prior to this. Carmenere may provide part of the answer, particularly in the Medoc, where it had a longstanding and successful partnership with Cabernet Franc and where it was one of the most widely planted varieties throughout that region.
Synonyms include Grand Vidure, Biturica.
Common Descriptors: plum, spice, black fruit, rustic
Food matches for Carmenere include: Sausage and bean stew, Creamy lamb curry, Barbecued lamb chops