The lost French wine, Carmenere

The last pizza night in our apartment in Santiago arrived way too soon for my liking.  We have been living in Ave Italia for a little more than two months, but even though we love living here, we realised that the time has come to move to a more affordable area.ImageDirk loves making pizza, so for one final time we invited a few friends over to share the evening with us.

ImageA fantastic thing about Chile is the really good, really cheap wines.  You can by a decent bottle of wine in a supermarket for less than $5 USD!  During the evening an interesting story was told about a specific wine grape variety found in Chile, called Carmenere.  Carmenere wine has a deep red colour and aromas of berries and spices.  It was originally grown in Bordeaux, France, but in 1867 a plague destroyed a lot of the vineyards in Europe.  It was thought that the Carmenere grape was extinct.

The truth was that a few French winemakers immigrated to Chile, bringing cuttings of Carmenere with them, in search of vineyards unaffected by the plague.  The grapes were interplanted with Merlot wines and the name Carmenere was not used, as the wine produced was thought to be Merlot.  In the late 1990’s, when French winemakers travelling in Chile tasted the Merlot, it was discovered that the wine was in fact Carmenere!  So, the lost wine was not lost at all.


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