Towards the end of last year, the Accidental Locavore was sent a bottle of Chilean wine to taste and review from the Thomas Collective. I met one of their people on the Brooklyn Pizza Tour. When they sent it, they had no way of knowing my affinity for things Chilean. A good friend of mine is a diplomat from “that string bean of a country” as he would call it and it’s through him that I first learned to appreciate their world-class wines.
This bottle was a Calcu 2008 Carménère Reserva which the tasting notes describe as: “On the nose, this wine displays dark fruit, spices and bitter chocolate. The finish is intense and juicy.” I would tend to agree with most of that. It was a pretty big wine, but not overpowering. The Locavore served it with some homemade charcuterie: duck rillettes, chorizo and a hunk of Cabot’s Clothbound Cheddar, all of which it complimented nicely.
The carménère grape was originally a French grape and possibly a clone to Cabernet Sauvignon, which is now almost exclusive to Chile. In other words, what you’re getting for a suggested retail of $15, is Bordeaux’s Chilean cousin…a bargain! Since I only had one bottle and three friends, we didn’t have a chance to pair it with dinner. It would probably work well with anything you would pair a Merlot or Cab with. The usual suspects being steaks, roasts and lamb, although I might like it better with beef than lamb. And don’t forget it was great with the duck rillettes so duck confit (maybe over lentils de Puy) or slow roast duck would be a great combo.
Give it a try. In New York you can find it at 67 Wine & Spirits, 179 Columbus Avenue (local, a mere three blocks from my apartment), or on the Internet.