Hello friends. Here is a rare chance to taste Washington Carmenere, a grape with a storied history. Up until a phylloxera outbreak in the mid-1800s, Carmenere was one of the six red varietals used regularly in Bordeaux (along with Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, and Petit Verdot). Post-phylloxera, Carmenere was thought for a time to have gone extinct, but it resurfaced many years later in Chile, where it had long been confused with Merlot (the grapes look nearly identical). Much like Malbec in Argentina, Carmenere has thrived in its adopted home. While some Carmenere has since been reintroduced in Bordeaux, it is far more widely planted in Chile, with 15000 acres currently under cultivation.
Carmenere arrived in Washington in the late ‘90s and is planted most widely at Seven Hills Vineyard in the Walla Walla Valley (the vineyard source for this wine). It has been produced most consistently by Colvin Vineyards and Reininger Winery, both of whom started releasing varietal Carmenere early in the last decade. Colvin has since gone out of business (a shame, since Jancis Robinson once called out their Carmenere as the best she had tasted to date), but Reininger continues to bottle the grape.
El Corazon’s winemaker, Spencer Sievers, got his introduction to Carmenere at Reininger, where he worked crush for a few years before branching off on his own. Spencer’s goal is to make single-vineyard, single-varietal wines, using mostly neutral oak to better showcase the fruit and terroir. El Corazon is still a micro-boutique winery, producing just 350 cases total in 2009, of which fewer than 100 were this Carmenere.
On the nose, dark fruits mingle with seductive notes of portobello mushroom and dusty, musky basement. The palate is a lovely mix of fruit and underbrush. With little new oak to get in the way, and with plenty of energizing bright acid, this is a definite palate-expander; a chance to taste what single-vineyard Washington Carmenere is all about.
Please limit order requests to 6 bottles/person, and we will do our best to fulfill all requests. El Corazon is self-distributed, so it might be as long as 2-3 weeks until we have the wine in our warehouse. At that point, it will be ready for pickup or shipping.