Price: $3.99 @ Trader Joe’s imported by Evaki
What They Said:
Per quaffability “Carmenere is more obscure than the fifth Beatle. The sixth grape of the famed five Bordeaux varietals, usually compared to Petit Verdot for the sturdy qualities it adds to Cabernet blends, Carmenere is not even grown in Bordeaux anymore. It does have a new home in Chile, where it’s blended into Cabernet and also bottled solo on occasion and noted for its smoky/earthy flavor profiles.
Carmenere makes for some interesting wines in Chile — but this is not one of them. The Panilonco starts of with aromas of dirt and cherries. It’s not unpleasant but a little plonky… some green aromas come along with some cooked, and there’s a whiff of something vaguely chemical as well. The good news is that the off aromas mostly dissipate after a couple hours.
In the mouth the wine is more clean, with soft tannins and nice texture . The finish is short – more like a memory than real flavors.
While it’s not bad for the price, and I’ve no regrets about pulling the cork on this one, I won’t be running out for another bottle anytime soon.”
What I Think:
I grabbed a bottle of this when I was out shopping to get some more Rocking Horse. Giving the price tag on those I was focusing on some low cost alternatives to round out the case and this caught my eye. Given my infatuation with the Casillero del Diablo and my disappointing experience with the Calina I was somewhat curious to see where this one would fall in. By the way the name of this wine translated appears to be “Chief of Lions”.
The first thing I noticed is that all three were from different regions within Chile. The Casillero del Diablo had loads of fruit which I was expecting to be the norm where as the Calina didn’t show me much of anything. I could see the terroir angle in my head. Opening this one you immediately realize that it wouldn’t align perfectly with either of the other 2. On the nose this bottle was earthy, there were aromas of cherries but they were a bit muted. On the palate these were a little clearer and held before the earthiness, dust and dirt, came back into the picture. The finish seemed heavily barrel influenced. This wine is certainly worth the price of admission and if it didn’t have to go head to head with the reigning champ it may have been worthy of some accolades. Given the $4 price tag I did ponder whether the extra $3 spent on a bottle of the Casillero del Diablo was worth it. The answer was a resounding yes. Dig in the couch for loose change if you have to.
Rating: 12th Bottle