When you visit Chile as I did in 2017 you are privy to an abundance of Carménère. Though not as widely planted as Cabernet Sauvignon, Carménère has become Chile’s signature grape and they have become the de facto single best producer of it in New World versions. There are a number of iterations available, some very high-end well over $100 a bottle, and others that are priced for everyday consumers. Veramonte is one of the best-known value producers and their 2017 iteration is a clear winner. Harvested in the Colchagua Valley, this 100% Carménère presents blueberry, plum and blackberry, an earthier quality with leather and resin notes, along with cedar and mild back notes of wild herbs and black pepper. Aged a scant eight months in neutral barrels, this allows the fruit to be center stage. The acidity and length are both mild but the fruit and oak is more harmoniously blended than in previous vintages. As a value-priced everyday wine this succeeds entirely and offers a different experience rather than the standard red wine varieties.
Score: 90 Points
What Can I Pair It With? Green curry with chicken and rice; Fusilli au gratin with creamy mushroom sauce; Traditional paella.