Since Chile rediscovered their Carménère grape, a variety lost in Europe in the middle of 19 century, Chile wine producers have organize and hosted a variety of harvest activities. Most of these activities occur through May. The Carménère “Grand Verdure” and Syrahs grapes from the Casablanca and San Antonio Valleys are harvested later in Chile. These reds wines could make fantastic pairings with meat from Chile or Argentina and some seafood from the Pacific.
The Carménère grape is a wine grape variety originally planted in the Médoc region of Bordeaux, France, where it was used to produce deep red wines and occasionally used for blending purposes in the same manner as Petit Verdot.
A member of the Cabernet family of grapes, the name “Carménère” originates from the French word for crimson (carmin) which refers to the brilliant crimson colour of the autumn foliage prior to leaf-fall. The grape is also known as Grand Vidure, a historic Bordeaux synonym, although current European Union regulations prohibit Chilean imports under this name into the European Union. Along with Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Malbec and Petit Verdot, Carménère is considered part of the original six red grapes of Bordeaux, France.
Now rarely found in France, the world’s largest area planted with this variety is in Chile in South America, with more than 8,800 hectares cultivated in the Central Valley. As such, Chile produces the vast majority of Carménère wines available today and as the Chilean wine industry grows, more experimentation is being carried out on Carménère’s potential as a blending grape, especially with Cabernet Sauvignon.
If you want to enjoy a relaxing harvest experience, April /May is a perfect season for touring in Chile.
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