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Home Winners > Winners 2018 > NEW WORLD: Carmenère

Winner Details

New World: Carmenère

2018 Gold 3      Silver 4      Bronze 1      Commended 8
2017 Gold 4      Silver 3      Bronze 3      Commended 7

You could, it’s safe to say, describe Carmenère as ‘divisive’. Few of our tasters were on the fence about it – they either loved it or hated it – but even its non-fans could see a use for it, often in a gastropub or barbecue restaurant paired with mountains of red meat.

As a result, it’s developed into a solid section of the competition, with three or four places on the Gold List every year – often at a pleasing range of prices. And so it was again this year, our three Golds laddering nicely up from a shade over House Wine level through ‘mid-price trade-up’ to ‘show-off’.


 ‘It’s probably the only grape variety I dislike. I find it too OTT – too much alcohol, fruit and structure. It’s like being hit by a train.’ Andrea Bricarello, team leader

 ‘In the pub it’s an important grape. Or in a steakhouse, it makes perfect sense. But in fine dining – not necessarily. Its varietal character is quite divisive.’ Matthieu Longuère MS, Le Cordon Bleu

‘I wouldn’t drink a second glass, but it will work fine if you’re having a barbecue and want a bit of punch, providing it’s well made. ’ Simone Fadda, Roka Aldwych

 ‘If you want a full wine list, you should have a bit of something from everywhere – and that includes Carmenere. It would be best with something gamey like venison or a fatty piece of beef.’ Stefano Barbarino, Chez Bruce

‘Nobody buys Carmenère, even when we tell the story. In a steakhouse, it’s a complementary wine.’ Daria Ershova, Ten Green Bottles

‘It’s one of my favourite grapes. Different styles, easy-drinking to food-friendly. All of them in terms of tannin and ripeness very well integrated. And great prices.’ Carlos Ferreira, The Don

Award winners

Found 16 wines

New World: Carmenère

Montgras, De Gras, Reserva, Carmenère 2016, Colchagua Valley, Chile

Gold medal winner

As this was elevated to Gold amidst praise from our judges, impressed team leader Angela Reddin admired its ‘smoky bonfire nose, cranberry and briar, with very autumnal fruit flavours, too’, with Daria Ershova of Ten Green Bottles enjoying its ‘bramble fruit, savoury meaty nose, soft tannins and fresh acidity, making it a food-friendly choice’. Coworth Park Ascot’s Michael Fiducia added praise for its ‘nuances of herbaceousness and lovely mocha on a structured palate’.

£7.73 Enotria&Coe

Siegel, Special Reserve, Carmenère 2016, Colchagua Valley, Chile

Gold medal winner

Winning a well-deserved Gold to go with Siegel Family Wines’ collection of medals, this Carmenère was ‘classic in style’ according to Suave Wine’s Joseph Lunn, who described ‘dark fruit and balanced hedgerow notes, and a grippy palate with good length’. Team leader Andrea Briccarello enjoyed its ‘earthy beetroot with red fruit aromas, jammy notes on the palate with a refreshing finish’, while team leader Martin Lam thought its ‘lifted elderberry and spice aromas’ and ‘graphite, red fruits, spice and coffee’ notes were crying out for a steak.

£9.44 Carson Wines

Undurraga, Terroir Hunter, Peumo, Carmenère 2015, Cachapoal Valley, Chile

Gold medal winner

‘Plush and smooth,’ began Beaverbrook’s Euan McColm as this earned itself a well-deserved Gold, going on to describe it as ‘meaty, with lovely structure and dark, ripe fruit’. ‘Very fleshy and full-bodied, showing capsicum notes on an intense palate with full structure,’ confirmed team leader Andrea Briccarello, while Stefano Barbarino of Chez Bruce Restaurant recommended pairing its ‘smoky, toasty and floral notes’ with ‘rich and oily dishes – venison or beef’.

£15.15 Eurowines

Sutil, Limited Release, Carmenère 2015, Colchagua Valley, Chile

Silver medal winner

‘Big, with rustic, farmyard notes on the nose, juicy and complex on the mid-palate,’ began team leader Andrea Briccarello, while Euan McColm of Beaverbrook found it ‘herbal, with a touch of rosemary, damson and blueberry – a wine with lots of gusto, and one to drink with pizza’.

£10.69 Castelnau Wine Agencies

Viña La Rosa, Y Reserve, Carmenère 2015, Cachapoal Valley, Chile

Silver medal winner

An ‘easy-drinking, soft style’, said Le Cordon Bleu London’s Matthieu Longuère MS, showing ‘green coffee, blue plum, spicy notes and cocoa on the nose, then a full-bodied and concentrated palate’, with The Don’s Carlos Ferreira also noting ‘black cherry and slightly spicy character, very good for the price’.

£5.80 Fuller's

Aresti, Bellavista, Reserva, Carmenère 2016, Curicó Valley, Chile

Silver medal winner

‘Looking for balance rather than power,’ felt Le Coedon Bleu London’s Matthieu Longuère MS, with its ‘spicy and vegetal, bramble fruit nose, quite juicy and fresh palate’. ‘Smoky, autumnal aromas with hedgerow fruits and damp earth lead to a very expressive palate, smooth with lovely acid balance,’ added team leader Angela Reddin.

£9.01 Jascots Wine Merchants

Lapostolle, Cuvée Alexandre, Carmenère 2015, Apalta, Chile

Silver medal winner

‘Bold and rich on the nose with red and black berries, tobacco leaf and green tea,’ found team leader Angela Reddin, enjoying its ‘dark berries in the mouth with complex notes of minerals’, adding up to a ‘very complete’ wine.

£11.97 Berkmann Wine Cellars

Siegel, Single Vineyard, Carmenère 2015, Colchagua Valley, Chile

Bronze medal winner

Bleeding Heart Group’s Chris Delalonde MS enjoyed this wine’s ‘earthy prune, blueberry and tomato aromas with floral notes, then sweet-fruited, ripe delivery with great drive and balance on the mid-palate, lots of primary fruit and soft tannins on the finish’.

£13.80 Carson Wines

Valle Secreto, First Edition, Carmenère 2016, Cachapoal Valley, Chile

Commended medal winner

£10.35 EWGA

Apaltagua, Zapallar, Reserva, Carmenère 2016, Colchagua Valley, Chile

Commended medal winner

Chocalan, Origen, Gran Reserva, Carmenère 2014, Maipo Costa, Chile

Commended medal winner

£7.93 D&V Wines

Viña La Rosa, La Capitana, Barrel Reserve, Carmenère 2016, Cachapoal Valley, Chile

Commended medal winner

£6.65 Fuller's

iWines, iLatina, Carmenère 2015, Peumo, Cachapoal Valley, Chile

Commended medal winner

Via Wines, Chilensis, Reserva, Carmenère 2017, Maule Valley, Chile

Commended medal winner

£7.53 VIA Wines

Morandé, One to One, Estate Reserve, Carmenère 2015, Maipo Valley, Chile

Commended medal winner

La Playa, Block Selection 13, Reserve, Carmenère 2015, Colchagua Valley, Chile

Commended medal winner


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