This powerful Reserva Especial Carmenere from Chile was one of my favourites during WSET 3 course. Its nose was particularly spicy, with some incredible and deep aromas of cumin that took me back to my mother’s house when I was a child.
Information: Reserva Especial Carmenere
- Variety: Carmenere
- Vintage: 2015
- Producer: Cono Sur
- Region / Country: Valle de Cachapoal, Chile
WSET Level 3 Systematic Approach to Tasting Wine©
- Clarity: clear
- Intensity: deep
- Colour: ruby
- Condition: clean
- Intensity: medium
- Aroma characteristics: Spicy aromas above all, specially cumin and black pepper. Herbaceous notes of black currant leaf and green bell pepper. Black fruits, mainly black cherry and black currant. Cedar and earthly nuances.
- Development: developing
- Sweetness: dry
- Acidity: medium (+)
- Tannin: medium (+)
- Alcohol: high
- Body: medium (+)
- Flavour intensity: medium
- Flavour characteristics: black fruits and secondary flavours of oak ageing were more prominent in the mouth, but still had a strong spicy character.
- Finish: medium (+)
- Quality level: very good
- Level of readiness for drinking/potential for ageing: can drink now, but has potential for ageing
We were in ten that Thursday afternoon. Those were the last tastings before Saturday’s WSET 3 blind tasting examination. I was tired and, have to admit it, confused by the enormous quantity of wine we had been tasting that week. So many flavours, thousand of names of fruits and vegetables, some of them I had never heard before.
Overwhelmed by loads of aromas I was failing to recognise, I was starting to loose faith in myself. But then I poured this wine into my glass, swirled it, and finally got a familiar aroma. It was cumin, there were no doubts about it. My colleagues and teachers weren’t either with me or against me: they said it could be cumin, definitely loads of spices were going on there, but none of them could really recall cumin.
That’s because they didn’t grow up with me.
If they were, they would have remember the aroma of cumin coming from my mum’s kitchen when she was cooking meat empanadas, a typical recipe from Argentina. Cumin was used only with that specific recipe, actually, but because I used to love it so much I could never forget it.
This Chilean Carmenere took me back home, not only because of the cumin but also for that green bell pepper that you can easily get in an Argentinian Cabernet Sauvignon.
It arrived in the very best moment, where I was desperately needing a familiar face, when writing correct notes and recognising the aromas was crucial in order to regain faith. I actually believe this wine saved me somehow.
I recommend Cono Sur Reserva Especial Carmenere every time you need confidence.