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Home Winners > Winners 2017 > NEW WORLD: Carmenère

Winner Details

New World: Carmenère

2017 Gold: 4 Silver: 3 Bronze: 3 Commended: 7
2016 Gold: 4 Silver: 4 Bronze: 3 Commended: 6

It’s been a long time coming, but here, finally, is something that Chile can do well: a grape variety with character, charm and an in-built USP. One, moreover, that the Chileans seem to have got their heads around.

Carmenère’s natural leafiness provides an attractive herbal lift to Chile’s exuberant fruit, and after a few years when they sought to eradicate any hint of capsicum, winemakers now seem to be able to balance the greener and richer notes to create something interesting and spicy, yet fully palatable.

The prices were good, too. In a competition where value for money is ever harder to find, to have 70% of the medal winners under £10 was hugely impressive.

Interestingly, over the past four years we’ve had 12 Gold medals – and 12 different winners, suggesting a) that there’s strength in depth with the variety, and b) that nobody masters it year after year.


‘I was disappointed. I had clear and high expectations of this Carmenère category, but the winemakers were trying too hard to impress.’ Martin Lam, team leader

‘Not a bad flight. The wines were well balanced and there was lots of varietal character.’ Jade Koch, team leader

‘I don’t have any Carmenère on my list, I find the rich, powerful, extracted flavours too big for the food on my menu.’ Yohann Pinol, Wiltons

‘I liked this flight. I was looking for the purity of the variety – that herbal character and balsamic notes. I have a couple on my list at the moment. I pair them with red meat: it’s great with beef in Merlot sauce!’ Gabriel Liotta, Hakkasan Hanway Place

‘I’ve got a soft spot for Carmenère – I think it’s a juicer version of Cab Franc. You need to eat the right food with it: like fatty pork chops with rosemary potatoes. I was pleased though: the wines in this flight had good varietal character.’ Charles Pashby-Taylor, Dabbous

‘I think Carmenère is an underrated grape variety that’s seen as cheap and easy-going. Some of these were simple, young and fresh, but there’s a lot of improvement going on.’ Gaetano Giangaspero, Coya Mayfair


Award winners

Found 17 wines

New World: Carmenère

Siegel, Special Reserve, Carmenère 2015, Colchagua Valley, Chile

Gold medal winner

This Gold Lister had ‘dark fruit on a smoky, inky nose, fruit and alcohol well balanced on the palate, and a juicy finish with a hint of green pepper’, began team leader Lionel Periner, while Gaetano Giangaspero of Coya Mayfair noted ‘vinosity, and a fruity red berry style – quite expressive and fresh’. ‘Concentrated bramble fruit on the nose, with caffe latte on the palate, and some good acidity, leading to a fresh finish,’ added consultant sommelier Rebecca Coates. ‘Textbook Carmenère,’ concluded team leader Olivier Marie.

£6.68 Carson Wines

Viña La Rosa, La Capitana, Barrel Reserve, Carmenère 2014, Cachapoal Valley, Chile

Gold medal winner Pub & Bar

Taking home a Pub & Bar Trophy in addition to its Gold medal, this Carmenère was described by team leader Jade Koch as a ‘good example of the style, with warm, drying red fruits’, while Gabriel Liotta of Hakkasan Hanway Place highlighted its ‘ripe tannins and well-integrated style, with ripe fruit – good value for money’. Team leader Olivier Marie saw this effortlessly accompanying a Sunday roast or bangers and mash.

£6.65 Fuller's

Apaltagua, Grial, Carmenère 2012, Colchagua Valley, Chile

Gold medal winner

Giving an impressive demonstration of what this grape is capable of, Apaltagua took home the Gold. ‘A youthful, fruity perfume, with judicious use of oak, with excellent balance and length. An elegant wine with poise and finesse,’ began consultant sommelier Rebecca Coates. ‘Elegant and rounded, with vibrant, rich fruit and firm, ripe tannins, alongside eucalyptus and cocoa notes,’ added JKS Restaurants’ Sunaina Sethi. ‘A beautifully made wine that will age gracefully, with a complex range of aromatics, including tonka bean and cocoa nibs – best served alongside wagyu beef with wild sautéed mushrooms,’ concluded team leader Olivier Marie.

£22.32 Anthony Byrne Fine Wines

Luis Felipe Edwards, Gran Reserva, Carmenère 2015, Colchagua Valley, Chile

Gold medal winner

Chalking up another Gold for Chilean Carmenère, this had ‘fresh raspberry aromas with some mint notes, blackberry on the palate with fine earthy character underlying a charming finish’, began Andre Luis Martins of the Cavalry & Guards Club, with Michael Fiducia of Coworth Park Ascot finding it ‘deep and brooding, with eucalyptus and subtle spice notes on a well-rounded palate’. ‘A textbook example of Carmenère, with some ripeness, but some herbal and vegetal notes, too, as well as blueberries and some spices, and a soya sauce note on the finish. Match with rack of lamb with a mint sauce,’ suggested team leader Olivier Marie.

£8.12 North South Wines

Siegel, Single Vineyard, Carmenère 2014, Colchagua Valley, Chile

Silver medal winner

‘A drier and leaner style, with rasping tannic grip, dry fruit style with blackcurrant character on the finish,’ said team leader Jade Koch, while ETM Group’s Guillaume Mahaut described ‘nice blackberry fruits, with good tannin structure, good balance and acidity, and a fresh finish’.

£9.99 Carson Wines

Valdivieso, Single Vineyard, Carmenère 2012, Peumo, Chile

Silver medal winner

‘Ripe red fruits with spice and oak notes on the nose,’ began team leader Lionel Periner, who enjoyed its ‘fresh and balanced palate, smooth tannin with black pepper on the finish.’ ‘Creamy texture and juicy fruit, with tomato leaf notes and lovely acidity,’ added Gaetano Giangaspero of Coya Mayfair.

£11.28 Bibendum

Veramonte, Primus, Carmenère 2014, Colchagua Valley, Chile

Silver medal winner

Michael Fiducia of Coworth Park Ascot was struck by this wine’s ‘caramelised marshmallow aromas with wonderfully opulent, dark fruit on the palate’, and Cavalry & Guards Club’s Andre Luis Martins found ‘jammy cassis and mint leaf on the nose, fresh raspberry with smoked tobacco leaf aromas’.

£10.22 Matthew Clark

Agroverdi, Casa Verdi, Don Aniceto, Reserve, Carmenère 2015, Curicó Valley, Chile

Bronze medal winner

‘Rich and well-balanced wine, showing ripe berries and a touch of spice, for great value,’ said Yohann Pinol of Wiltons, with team leader Jade Koch finding ‘warm and bright red fruit with lovely raspberry character, and a prickle of heat on a drying finish’.

£8.23 Agroverdi SPA

Sogrape, Chateau Los Boldos, Tradition Réserve, Carmenère 2015, Alto Cachapoal, Chile

Bronze medal winner

James Hocking of The Vineyard Group enjoyed this wine’s ‘soft, fleshy style, hints of mint and vanilla’, finding it a ‘well-made wine, and decent value’, with Coworth Park Ascot’s Michael Fiducia highlighting ‘herbaceous notes leading on to a pleasant bramble fruit palate’.

£6.95 Liberty Wines

Apaltagua, Envero, Gran Reserva 2015, Colchagua Valley, Chile

Bronze medal winner

Gaetano Giangaspero of Coya Mayfair found ‘tomato leaf green notes and pepper on the nose, then a rich palate with a bitter edge and good structure’, while team leader Lionel Periner enjoyed its ‘dark fruit, spice and vegetal notes, crunchy berries on an elegant, medium-bodied palate’.

£9.99 Anthony Byrne Fine Wines

Ventisquero, Grey, Carmenère 2013, Maipo Costa, Chile

Commended medal winner

£11.37 Bibendum

Undurraga, Sibaris, Carmenère 2014, Colchagua Valley, Chile

Commended medal winner

£8.70 Eurowines

Agroverdi, Casa Verdi, Ultra, Grand Reserve, Carmenère 2015, Curicó Valley, Chile

Commended medal winner

£12.30 Agroverdi SPA

Concha y Toro, Terrunyo, Peumo Vineyard, Block 27, Carmenère 2015, Cachapoal Valley , Chile

Commended medal winner

£14.66 CyT UK

Veramonte, Carmenère 2015, Colchagua Valley, Chile

Commended medal winner

£7.78 Matthew Clark

Morandé, Gran Reserva, Carmenère 2013, Maipo Valley, Chile

Commended medal winner

£10.78 Barwell & Jones

Falernia, Reserva, Carmenère 2014, Elqui Valley, Chile

Commended medal winner

£10.86 Enotria&Coe


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