Sunday, November 09, 2014

Perez Cruz Carmenere Limited Edition 2012 wine review by Billy

Nose: light notes of plum, cherry and a hint of mushroom
Palate: Firm tannins and moderate acids play with each other until the tannins win. Strong characteristics of loam and charcoal. Pleasant dry mouth feel.
Finish: Vegetal and long but subtle.
Overall: We paid $26 for this at a local wine shop. We also decanted it for 30 minutes or so before tasting it. This wine is 100% Carmenere grapes from the Maipo Alto region of Chile. The grapes are hand picked and the winery practices sustainable farming.

I am not a fan of 100% Carmenere wine.  But a very engaging wine store aficionado, RJ from Wine Republic in Excelsior, MN, persuaded us to try it.  He was a good advocate for the varietal and an engaging fellow.

This wine is well made and structured. But the Carmenere grape simply does not have enough character to create an amazing wine by itself. The nose has some teasing tempranillo and merlot hints but the fruit is obliterated in the mouth by the overwhelming taste of the "terroir". This terroir is akin to a spoonful of dirt dumped on your tongue.

For the money, go with a couple bottles of French Merlot blends or Old Vines California Zinfandel or even a middle level Cabernet. The French history of the Carmenere grape is evident in its potential for complexity but sometimes complex is just difficult.

Still, it was good to engage with a local wine shop owner who has opinions and is willing to go out on a limb to encourage patrons to try something new.

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