Concha y Toro Casillero del Diablo Chile Carmenere 2006
$14.50; 13.5% alcohol; cork(!); 94 points
Carmenere was a popular Bordeaux variety two hundred years ago when they blended it cabernet franc in Medoc. The wines must have been utterly gorgeous: this brazen, incredibly cheap Chilean is a sluttish combo of gun blue and the most ethereal mints, pollens, musk and lavender. Tamarillo, chinese gooseberry, persimmon. It’s nuts, but totally, uncontrollably seductive. Rhubarb and blackberry tart. Licorice. Carbide. Ozone. Sparks. More smells than your boring, reliable, austere old cabernet can ever exude. The palate’s sinuous, slippery, and irresistable. Get to Vintage Cellars, quick!
Olssen Clare Valley Carmenère 2006
$35; 13.5% alcohol; screw cap; 92+++ pointsCarmenère is a rare old Bordeaux red variety. As part of the Clare Vine Improvement Scheme, Olssen’s planted this pioneering block on Bass Hill, in the undulating south of the district. And good for them: like the almost-forgotten petit verdot, this is a gloriously intense, dry, deep-coloured red which will develop beautifully in vineyard and bottle. Given the horrors of 2008, any grape which produces this much healthy adult flavour at 13.5% is something which should be much more widely grown. Fragrant, juicy, but almost impenetrably solid, it’s a big baby for big meats, hard, tart cheeses, or the cellar. firstname.lastname@example.org - 8843 0065