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Santa Ema Carmènere 2003

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That I'm a fan of Chilean reds is hardly a secret. Here's another wine that shows why.

Santa Ema Carmenère 2003 is a winner not just on the count of its origin—I have no partiality to Chile, per se—but also because it has a pleasing, deep color and full body.

Carmenère isn't a varietal that one frequently encounters today. In centuries past, Carmenère was quite popular in the Médoc, the most popular wine-growing region of Bordeaux, and was used to make exceptionally good wine, establishing the reputations of some of the vignerons there.

Despite its quality, Carmenère suffers from a susceptibility to coulure, where the too many small berries will fall off of the vine shortly after flowing, possibly drastically reducing yield. This obviously can have a tremendous impact on the growers and for the sake of predictability of income, many growers will stick with grapes not so affected. Other susceptible vines include Grenache and Malbec, two others that one doesn't see quite so frequently.

Santa Ema is a well-known winery in Chile, established by Pedro Pavone Voglino, who emigrated to the Maipo Valley from Chile in 1917. The winery's Carmen�re comes from the Cachapoal Valley. Niki found a bottle of the 2003 at a local wine store for $10.99.

Wine isn't just a pleasure for special occasions in our household; it's a staple we'd no sooner forego than olive oil. (Neither is to be harmed, you see.) We originally paired it with another pillar of food in America: pizza. After finishing the first half of the bottle, we re-sealed it with a vacuum pump stopper and saved it for the following night, when we had it with a delicious pork tenderloin with mustard sauce, broccoli, and rice. The wine was quite nice for both dishes, having nice body, but not so much as to subjugate all other tastes.

While even today, Carmenère is a small yield vine, I'm quite glad that some take the trouble to cultivate it and to produce wine such as this. It's certainly one worth noting and being on the lookout for opportunities to try if you haven't had the pleasure.

Created by cmcurtin
Last modified 2005-09-12 10:05 AM
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