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Winner Details

Carmenère

Rather as they have with Pinot, Chile’s winemakers seem to be really getting the hang of Carmenère. That’s not a back-handed complement, incidentally, because it isn’t an easy grape to get right. Too much of the green character and it’s like drinking asparagus; too ripe and it could be anything.

The best examples here walked that tightrope rather neatly, with softness, lift and a little Cab Franc-like leafiness, often at ‘stock me now’ prices.

Admittedly, not all our tasters could see the need for an entry-level Carmenère, but plenty could, not least because it’s a grape variety that people recognise. It’s also, handily, one that works well with curry – so it could be a good addition for gastropubs.

Interesting, by the way, to see our first non-Chilean medal with this grape: Chateau Changyu-Castel’s Cabernet Gernischt from Ningxia in China.

From The Tasting Teams

‘Some were too extracted, too ripe and high in alcohol. They should be more approachable and fresher in style.’ Erik Simonics, Annabel’s

‘The best thing was the price – there was amazing value for money here. It’s a variety that’s becoming more well known, so it should be on a list. Gianluca Provenzani, Belmond Cadogan Hotel

‘The best ones had this Cabernet Franc-like leafiness with some ripe, dark berry fruits. You’re looking for good use of oak here to round off some nice ripe flavours that have that attractive green edge.’ Tom Forrest, team leader

‘At their best these are easy-drinking, non-confrontational wines that go well with anything. Some would have gone well with tandoori lamb.’ Antóin UáRuairc, UK Midland Sommelier

‘I felt these were very green, often finishing with a stalkiness. The entry-level examples would have made good by-the-glass options though.’ Sarah Jane Evans MW, team leader

‘These worked better at the cheaper end, when they just let the fruit do what the fruit wanted to do.’ Dave Cushley, Prestonfield House

Award winners

Found 10 wines

New World: Carmenère

Survalles , Patria Nueva, Reserva Especial, Carmenère 2018, Curicó Valley, Chile

Gold medal winner

'An easy-drinking style, with some minty, herbal notes and light, fresh fruit notes.' Tom Forrest, team leader. 'Sweet rhubarb and strawberries on the nose, with dry spicy black fruit on the palate. Great value for money.' Emanuel Pesqueira, Edwardian Hotels London. 'With good balance of flavours and tannins, this would work very well as a house red.' Gianluca Provenzani, Belmond Cadogan Hotel.

£7.24 Condor Wines

Mancura, Guardian, Carmenère 2018, Maipo Valley, Chile

Gold medal winner

'An open, inviting nose, and nice delicate fruit to follow, with just a little hint of grip holding it all together.' Dave Cushley, Prestonfield House. 'Quite an elegant wine, although with some rustic notes too, with fruit, spice and tannins all well balanced.' Gary Newborough, The Aristologist. 'A juicy, likeable, wine by the glass with very red fruit and some green notes from the variety. Good value too.' Sarah Jane Evans MW, team leader.

£7.33 Morandé

Errazuriz, Aconcagua Alto, Carmenère 2017, Aconcagua Valley, Chile

Silver medal winner

'This has some complex layers on the nose, with tobacco flavours and gentle liquorice, and good spice and soft red fruits.' Antóin UáRuairc, UK Midland Sommelier. 'A funky nose that's smooth and full of blackberry fruit, this is a light Carmenère that's easy-drinking and perfect for barbecues.' Bianca Potenza, 212 Amsterdam.

£11.88 Hatch Mansfield

Siegel , Single Vineyard, Carmenère 2017, Colchagua Valley, Chile

Bronze medal winner

'Beautiful cassis to start here, joined by some pencil shaving notes, with some mint on the palate.' Emanuel Pesqueira, Edwardian Hotels London. 'This is rustic in style, with notes of green pepper and black fruit.' Gary Newborough, The Aristologist. 'Grassy and herbal, with some coffee notes too - one for a steakhouse wine list.' Anja Breit, abWINEconsulting.

£15.13 VIÑA SIEGEL S.A.

Via Wines, Chilcas, Las Almas, Carmenère 2016, Colchagua Valley, Chile

Bronze medal winner

'Classic Carmenère, with some eucalyptus alongside red jammy fruit, and with a long finish.' Luís Martins, team leader. 'Some minty blackberries and currants joined by creamy vanilla oak notes, and leading to spicy notes of clove and cinnamon, and a fresh finish of raspberry and cranberry.' Tom Forrest, team leader.

£16.57 Viña San Rafael S.A

Chateau Changyu-Castel, Premium, Cabernet Gernischt 2016, Shantong, China

Bronze medal winner

'This is earthy and slightly rustic in style, with some black fruit.' Gary Newborough, The Aristologist. 'The oak is dominant here, but it's well-integrated and rounded, and joined by some blueberry and blackberry fruit as well as some chocolate and spice.' Anja Breit, abWINEconsulting.

£11.83 Chateau Changyu-Moser

Santa Rita, Gran Hacienda, Carmenère 2016, Central Valley, Chile

Commended medal winner

£7.79 Bibendum

Apaltagua, Zapallares, Selección Privada, Carmenère, Gran Reserva 2017, Colchagua Valley, Chile

Commended medal winner

Falernia, Gran Reserva, Carmenère 2017, Coquimbo, Chile

Commended medal winner

£12.25 Enotria&Coe

Undurraga, Terroir Hunter, Carmenère 2017, Cachapoal Valley, Chile

Commended medal winner

 

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