Carmenere, like Malbec, was once a thriving wine grape in the Bordeaux region of France, but it was all but destroyed in the plague of 1867. Happily it has found an exciting new life in the fertile valleys of Chile. It is fabulous fruit that makes rich, intriguing wines that are so very drinkable.
Santa Rita is one of Chile’s oldest vineyards, founded in 1880, over the last 30 years it has aspired into one of South America’s greatest wineries, one that is world known.
Having enjoyed Santa Rita’s “120” entry level wines on many occasions, you can find them everywhere, I was excited to have the opportunity to experience some of the winery’s higher echelon wines. We are tasting three priced between $20 and $70.
The Wine: Santa Rita Medalla Real Carmenere Grand Riserve 2009
The Food: A classic international American home cooked meal
The Place: Santa Rita began in the beautiful Maipo Valley and has grown with vineyards in the varied terroirs of Apalta, Casablanca, Rapel, Leyda and Curic. Which means the wine makers here can offer you a tantalizing diversity of wines to enjoy.
Andrés Ilabaca and Cecilia Torres are the two major wine makers of eight with Santa Rita. This wine, as well as the other two we will be telling you about, are the result of the gracious passion of Andres Ilbaca.
I prepared a home dinner with a world sweep of influences, a hearty meatloaf with a spicy glaze of ketchup, with Worcestershire, Siracha, oregano, onion, garlic, smoked paprika and cumin; roasted turnips and baby yukon gold potatoes with fresh thyme; and a soy sesame spinach, I think I hit every continent. A salmagundi of flavors that a solid wine like Carmenere compliments so well.
Santa Rita, Carmenere, Medalla Real has the personality of a well known, loved yet quirky friend, a comfortable level of familiarity, but always interesting and new. With each bite of our meal this wine opened a pleasing shining of flavors at just the right moment.
It is a winner, try it soon.