Tricky (rabbit) Cabernet Franc Carmenèré Reserva 2015: Valle del Maule, Chile
I ‘m drinking cheap leading up to Christmas because I had not planned on buying a new dishwasher. Our dishwasher broke back in August. We have one of those expensive home warranties (2-10) and well… it has been a few months of hell. Mrs. Dan wouldn’t marry me 20 years ago until I got the dishwasher at my old house fixed. 20 years later and it was basically get it fixed or sleep outside.
I had faith in the warranty we had bought. We didn’t hear from the local repair folks for almost 2 months. When they did show I paid $100 and said they needed parts…..Well four months in and it still doesn’t work. I won’t bore you with the details. Bottom-line is that it’s 4 days till Christmas and I’ve been told there will be a working dishwasher in the house on Christmas Day. Because 2-10 and the local repair company basically dropped the ball I am getting $148 for the parts they would have installed. This doesn’t include the $100 I already paid. I have a local plumber installing the new dishwasher we bought this weekend on Wednesday.
So, to try and alleviate the cost of celebrating Christmas with a new dishwasher I present $7.99 Tricky (rabbit) Cabernet Franc/Carmenèré. I found this at Carolina Pottery. Mrs. Dan had told me that Carolina Pottery, the place you go to buy cheap place mats and artificial flowers, has wine. Lots of it. Lots of wines I see at local grocery stores and for $5-10.
I bought several bottles that you will be seeing here during the next few days. I grabbed this tonight because I like Cabernet Franc and I like Carmenèré. But I’m not sure about blending them. I’ve read about Carmenèré (the Lost Grape) for years. I heard stories about wine markers in Chile making really bad Merlot but in fact were making really bad Carmenèré. (it’s called the Lost Grape of Bordeaux because back in the 19th century European vineyards were laid waste by phylloxera brought in by infected American grapes. The only way to save the vineyards was to graft European grapes to American rootstock–they do that to this day). Carmenèré was considered pain to grow because it ripened much later than most grapes so they chose to let it die and go away. But some had made it to Chile and was being grown for more than a 100 years but they thought it was Merlot and were either mixing it with Merlot grapes or treating it as Merlot. About 20 years ago they did some DNA analysis and found it was Carmenèré and now they sell a lot of it.
I love a well-made Carmenèré but those can be hard to find. I am curious if this is a blend of finished wines (60% Cab Franc and 40% Carmenèré) or did they combine the juice and ferment them together. I assume they were blended after fermentation.
I tasted the Cab Franc when I first opened it. The color is that dark inky purple I’ve seen in many Cab Francs. But after that first sip hits the back of your tongue the taste of a young Carmenèré hits. Being a 2015 I didn’t think it would taste so young.
After being opened for about an hour the flavors have mellowed and some bolder dark fruit is sneaking out. Unfortunately the dry tart finish is still there but maybe not as bad after the first sip. The bottle says the flavor profile is “Chocolate and pepper.” Pepper yes, especially after opening up but Chocolate? Maybe if you squint your eyes while drinking it. It went well with the turkey tenderloin baked with a parmesan sauce on top we enjoyed for dinner.
I paid $7.99 for it. Best $7.99 wine I’ve had this week. But I can think of a slew of $9.99 wines I could be enjoying right now.
I checked my wine database and found we had Tricky (rabbit) Sauvignon Blanc/Carmenèré at Wine World back in October of 2018. (how I miss Wine World).
If you like a peppery Carmenèré you can check it out. On a budget, check it out. Need a broken dishwasher? Let me know. I’ve got to think about which $7.99 wine I’m having tomorrow night.