Casas del Bosque Reserva Carmenere 2021
Intense purple color with violet hues. The wine shows lively and vibrant, with notes of tobacco and spices. The typical green bell pepper note, characteristic of this variety, is well blended with spices from the barrel. On palate there is an equilibrium and a coherence with the nose. There is the juiciness of a young wine combined with the acidity of a colder vintage. A sensation of volume, ripeness and soft tannins. An excellent representation of its origin. Serve ideally between 16-18°C/61-64°F. This wine is a favorite to pair with Chilean cuisine, which relies heavily in onions, bell peppers and raisins. It also pairs exceptionally well with preparations based on soy sauce, including pork, duck or vegetables. A winemaker favorite is beef empanadas with a hot spicy touch.
89 points James Suckling.
89 points Vinous (Joaquín Hidalgo).
89 points Decanter
The fruit comes from a small village called Almahue, long recognized for the quality of its Carménère, and part of the famed Peumo sub- ppellation. Crop yields were less than 10 tons per hectare (4 U.S. tons per acre). Warm days and cool nights characterized the season. Average temperatures in summer were 21.8ºC (71ºF), and in winter 10.8ºC (52ºF). Mean diurnal shifts in March are 17ºC (63ºF). Yearly rainfall is 215 mm on average, falling mostly between May and September. 2021 was a rather cool year, marked by an uncommon rainfall on January 31st. The grapes were handpicked during the first half of April.
While Carménère is certainly famous for its Pyrazine component, this Reserva from Casas del Bosque tames it and balances it pretty well thanks in great part to the way malolactic fermentation is managed during ageing. Also, the fruit is sourced from loamy alluvial soils of excellent drainage, very close to the Cachapoal river. Upon arrival to the winery, the grapes were destemmed and pressed to stainless steel tanks, and inoculated with selected yeasts. After that they were co-inoculated with selected lactic bacteria to carry out the malolactic fermentation. The wine was left to macerate for seven additional days, for added structure and longevity. At the end of malolactic fermentation, the wine was uncovered and pressed, separating fractions of press according to quality. 20% of the final blend was aged for 12 months in French oak barrels (second use). The wine was finally assembled, filtered and bottled. A total of 6,500 cases were produced.
Carménère is an inherently spicy variety, sharing some similarities with Cabernet Franc, and was once widespread in the Médoc region of Bordeaux. Today it is not possible to find it there since starting in 1867 a Phylloxera plague destroyed most of the original Carménère vines. Fast- forward about a century to the early 1990´s, and we find that somehow it made it to Chilean vineyards before disappearing in France, being rediscovered – and celebrated – by winemakers all over the South American country. A late ripening variety, it can show too much greenness if picket too early, or risk messing with sugar concentrations if picked too late. That is why harvest precision is key, and getting the right environment to grow the vines is crucial. The Mediterranean climate around Almahue in the Rapel Valley, where Casas del Bosque sources these grapes, is an ideal place as the warmer climate makes possible a consistent, structured wine year after year. The winery, which has a coastal, cool climate identity, enjoys playing with a slightly higher acidity than normal in order to keep this Reserva’s style juicy, and inviting towards a second glass.