Wine Wednesday: 2014 Carignan from Meli (Maule Valley)

This week’s Wine Wednesday is dedicated to Meli’s 2014 Carignan which I received as a sample right before the New Year. A friend has been visiting from Italy and I thought it would be fun to open a Chilean wine for him as they are not as exposed to these wines as those of us who live in North America. This wine is made from 90% Carignan and 10% Cabernet. It has incredible acidity and a nice long finish. It’s meaty and full bodied and would be perfect with a steak or even portobello mushrooms. It comes from Maule Valley which is about 150 miles south of Santiago.

It’s specific location is Loncomilla, an area that is worth getting to know. It’s also not too far from the Pacific ocean and therefore has good thermal excursion and cooling maritime breezes.

The wine is the project of winemaker Adriana Cerda. It comes from 65 year old vines and is dry farmed. Adriana also makes a Riesling but I have never tried that. Like many wines in Chile, the vines for this wine are not grafted. She also uses ambient rather than cultivated yeasts. Adriana who is a well-known winemaker decided to do this project with her sons on a property she bought in 2005. Carignan which is a French variety is well suited to the position of this winery and this area. Maule has cool nights and warm days which leads to phenolic ripeness in the grapes. You can taste the ripe fruit in the glass as well. I am not sure on a blind tasting if I would have picked this out as a Carignan. It is a tad less spicy than some that I have had from France and Spain but it stands up to the comparison with wines from these two areas. I love that she is a woman making this wine with her three adult sons.

I loved my 2008 visit to Chile. I believe I am due for another one. I was there for three weeks but it’s such a beautiful country and so much has changed in terms of its winemaking that I am sure it’s completely changed. Here’s to my next trip! Saludos.

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