This week’s Wine Wednesday is an interesting wine that comes all the way from the Rapel Valley in Chili! Lapostolle is a relatively new winery with history and Carmenere is a very old and confused grape making, which makes for a unique wine. Lapostolle is the name of the family that brought you Grand Marnier (and still holds a controlling interest) and before that were wine negociants in France. Clearly, they know their wine. That same family started Lapostolle vineyard in 1994 and in 2008, Lapostolle was awarded the best new winery in the new world.
Having an even longer history than the Lapostolle family is the Carmenere grape. Carmenere was a minor blending grape in Bordeaux France (and has largely fallen out of favor even as a blending grape but is currently making its way back thanks to global warming) made its journey to Chile over a couple of centuries ago. Until a couple of decades ago, Carmenere was confused as Merlot and continued to languish as a blending grape. After some grape typing, folks realized that they had a somewhat rare grape variety on their hands that performed much better in Chili than it ever did in France thanks to the warmer weather (does it remind you of the Malbec story in Argentina). Carmenere was revived and it began shining as its own varietal.
The Casa line is the introductory line in the Lapostolle line-up. In addition to Casa, Lapostolle has three other lines that increase in complexity and price. The Casa line is a line that focuses on youth, fruit and value. The wines are vinified to preserve youth, grape essence and fruit, which means that their time in oak is limited. If you aren’t a fan of oaked red wine, than this maybe a good line for you. Regardless of price, all Lapostolle lines of wine are produced organically and bio-dynamically.
The Lapostolle 2010 Casa Carmenere was purchased at Costco for $7.99. Visually, the 2010 Carmenere shows its youth and given that it’s a 201, it is definitely youthful (although 6 months older than vintages from North America). On the eyes, the Carmenere is almost opaque with a purple hue and garnet rim. On the nose, the wine has blackberry, black currant, tobacco, rosemary and white pepper. On the palate, the wine had medium acidity, medium plus tannins (that were slightly drying), high alcohol and was full-bodied. The wine had a medium plus intensity of blackberry, black cherry, leather, tobacco, rosemary, white tannin and alcohol. Long finish.
If you are interested in trying someplace new, give Carmenere a try. It’s a big, bold red with a not to subtle spiciness.