CASA NUEVA CARMENERE 2003, Molina, Chile, 13.5%, CP152-2746 (Opimian) $13.08
Opimian says: "Carmenere could be the 'flagship' grape of Chile. Deeply coloured, it has a delightful fragrance of cinnamon, spice, anise and a compote of black plums. a mixture of flavours... into a lingering finish with some soft, husky tannins and good use of oak. Drink in same year." My notes: Cellared March, 2004, is everything Opimian says as far as my taste can tell and hasn't suffered from cellaring a year. It is a violet red with a light aroma of fresh blueberries, cherries, raspberries and cinnamon, not quite the blackcurrant shiraz is but fruitier than a cabernet sauvignon. This is a bright, light- to medium-bodied balance of flavour, tannins and acid. The finish is long and complex. A good sipper and pairs well with tangy salsa, spanish paella, italian sausage, red meats or pasta dishes. Carmenere is a worthwhile varietal for the cellar.
LIKÁN CARMÉNÈRE/CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2003, Maule Valley, Chile, 13.5% Organic, #713909 $12.95
Vintages says: "'Likán' is the name of a Mayan ritual where priestesses recovered their powers to connect with the spirit world. A very important sacred element in the ritual was soil, so Concha y Toro has named their organic wine in honour of this ancient ceremony. Our Quality Assurance laboratory has determined that this organic wine contains 20 mg/L of free sulphur. Vintages release March 19, 2005." My notes: The CyT website doesn't have any information about this wine. The bottle has an interesting label reflecting its namesake. The colour is a rich deep ruby much like a full-bodied merlot. The nose is a warm mixture of cinnamon, plums, and black cherries which carries through to the flavours with a silky smooth texture and a bite mixed with firm tannin. The finish is long, ripe plums and leather. As a sipper it's a firm full-bodied red - have with chips and salsa, mature cheeses, or smoked oysters. Pairs with anything red: beef, venison, duck, panserotti pizza, tomato-based pastas or rice dishes.
CA'BIANCA BARBERA D'ASTI DOC 2002, Piedmont, Italy, 13.5%, #588905 $12.95
The label says: "Has a good ageing potential and will accompany red meat, venison, mature cheese." Gord Stimmell (May 11, 2005) rates this an 89 and describes it as: "A real treasure of a red, with richly appointed flavours. Aromas of plum, cedar, black cherry with a black peppery spice lift. Flavours of vanilla, full ripe drenchingly rich plum and exotic spice, with a very smooth, silky finish and nicely integrated tannins. Food suggestion. Veal in a red wine sauce." My notes: As far as my nose could tell, Stimmell's description is accurate but allow to breathe, a glass for ten minutes, the bottle for more. I wouldn't call it a treasure, just an OK value and an 86. Smoothe but not 'silky' as the Likán above, is lighter with a shorter finish, ie. the fruit dies quickly leaving a somewhat flat taste - allowing to breathe helps, so having with finger food is a must or pair with lamb, roast beef, grilled veals or stews. This is a 'drink now' wine and is a General LCBO listing.