I invited a few friends over, stopped by a local restaurant to order takeout for my dinner party,
set the table,
set out the food,
and a tasting party was born.
As I explained what we would be drinking, one of our guests said he thought that the Carmenere was referred to as the jurassic grape.
A Google search ensued, and we all learned that the Carmenere grape was thought to be extinct and lost in the Phylloxera Plague in Europe, when it was wiped out there, yet it was rediscovered growing alongside Merlot grapes in Chile 150 years later. It had been assumed to be Merlot for quite some time until it was confirmed in the 1990s to in fact be the long lost Carmenere and not Merot.
Now Carmenere has become Chile’s signature grape, producing wine deep in color, with juicy, fruity and spicy flavors. And we found it be a perfect pairing for the fire in curry!
The wines we tasted, along with a few of our observations, were:
Emiliana Natura Carmenere 2010 from the Colchagua Valley $16.99
-Peppery. One taster thought it softened and mellowed with the spice of the food, yet another guest thought it grew bolder with the curry. (I thought it made the flavors bolder.)
Casa Silva Los Lingues Gran Reserva Carmenere 2008 from the Colchagua Valley $22
-Luscious fruit on the nose. Came on bold to taste, yet grew softer.
Montes Alpha Carmenere 2008, from the Colchagua Valley $24
-Very smooth. I loved the hint of vanilla flavor mixed with the spice.
Carmen Gran Reserva Carmenere 2009 from the Apalta Valley $16.99
-The fruitiness and berry made this one a favorite of the group. It also had a rich, long finish.
Conch y Toro Marques de Casa Concha Carmenere 2009 from the Rapel Valley $20
-This one wasn’t as well received as the others.
Haras de Pirque Cabernet Sauvignon/ Carmenere 2007 from the Maipo Valley $13
-The blend allowed for more complexity, making this another favorite of the group. I loved the earthiness mixed in with the fruitiness.
All went well with the curry, with some of us saying we felt the wine lessened the heat of our dinner and others said the wines made the spices come alive and have more character. I know my mouth was on fire more than once during the evening, but the spices became addictive and I just couldn’t stop eating the spices and trying different wines to see what I liked the most.
I can honestly say I would not have thought to put curry and Carmenere together, but I am so glad that I was encouraged to do just that. I definitely think a repeat evening is in order!
Disclosure: The wines were provided by Wines of Chile for review.
What is your favorite food to pair with Carmenere? Or your favorite wine to pair with Curry? Any chance you’d try the two together?