Chile is driving for a sustainable wine identity and this wine bucks that trend by not being sustainable but not playing the “party line” does not mean it should be put on a Stalinist show trial.
Argentina has its wine identity anchored in Malbec and it could be Chile’s is with Carménère. It originated in France but after the 19 th century phylloxera epidemic it was more or less wiped out. It was mistaken for Merlot in Chile until the mid 1990s!
The wine is from the Colchagua Valley once farmland now one of Chile’s most active wine producing regions. The relatively low elevation of the coastal hills allows the Pacific Ocean breezes to interplay with the Andean winds cooling the valley and extending the region’s ripening period
On the nose the Dagaz Estate Carménère 2018 there is a beam of rich black cherry, blackberry, coal and mocha with Santa Rosa plum. On the palate solid and muscular tannins which are restraining the eager beaver fruit from breaking out and stealing the show. The blackberry and black cherry are happily glowing in the background but in no way bullied by the tannins. The wine needs decanting for an hour if you are planning to drink now but it will be arriving at its peak in 2026 and gracefully ageing and softening through to 2028.
The 7% Petit Verdot takes a good wine a notch above here making it a bit lively but not an obnoxious party animal.
It is a big wine but not so big it is unapproachable now. The cherry in it is certainly willing to accommodate peppered duck breast with a vanilla mash with peas and a wild mushroom ragout. https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/peppered-duck-vanilla-mash-pea-wild-mushroom-ragout
(Dagaz Estate Carménère 2018, D.O. Valle de Colchagua, Clos de Sol, Buin, Chile, $24.95, Liquor Control Board of Ontario # 24756, 750 mL, 14.5%, RKS Wine Rating 93/100).