Saturday, March 7, 2009

Wine Corner Review #47: Hacienda Araucano Carmenere

Phylloxera. Ancient scourge of the winemaking world. These pale yellow sapsucking insects once destroyed almost three-fourths of France's vines, until resistant rootstock could be developed and shipped over from both America and Texas. If you have never heard of the Carmenere grape, it is because this varietal, once widely planted in Bordeaux, was thought to be entirely destroyed in the phylloxera plague of the late 1800's, and seemingly vanished off the face of the earth forever. However, in the 1990's, carmenere grapes turned up in the most unlikely of places, Chile, were original "merlot" vines brought over before the plague turned out to be Carmenere! How fortunate!! In the years since, Carmenere has slowly started to push its way North, and has arrived at such places as Whole Foods Market, where I purchased today's wine under consideration, the Hacienda Araucano Carmenere.

The robe of the Hacienda Araucano Carmenere is plum with garnet highlights. The nose reveals berries and wood smoke. Cherries, berries, smoked Gouda cheese, and spice play upon the palate, finishing with vanilla bean. This tipple would make an interesting pairing with pork tenderloin or lamb with mint or tzatziki. Like virtually all but the biggest South American producers, information is hard to come by on the web; I found a little bit on Hacienda Araucano's importer, Francois Lurton, also has some info at, but their website does take time to load. In any case, smoke out some Carmenere today, and as always:



Eddie G said...

Thanks for this--I've been really into carmenere lately, but some can get pretty pricey and turn out to be a complete waste of money!

Food Czar said...

Give it a try, Eddie G, but be ready for a very smokey flavor. Some people don't like it!

CBIV said...

The importer for Francois Lurton is Winesellers, Ltd. out of Niles, IL.

Shakes said...

I too came across this wine during a tasting at Whole Foods and am now a fan. I love the smokey flavor, balance and fun drinking a variety that was once thought lost! I do have a question though. Why is this wine bottled with a screw top? I feel a little cheap taking a screw top wine to a party even though I personally think this wine is excellent.