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wine of the week 14/12/2008

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  Viña Chocalan (Chile) Carmenère 2007
A few years ago I was lucky enough to judge the 'Councours de Carmenère' in Chile. Having tasted a hundred or so wines, I began to suspect that the grape was best when part of a blend, as too many single varietal examples showed a rather green, grassy edge. But of course there are exceptions, and here is a prime example of a varietal Carmenère wine that smooths out any wrinkles and delivers a seamlessly rich drinking experience. It is really quite plush, with a nice sense of incense-lke, camphor and smoky character from 20% barrel ageing. The palate has great fruit sweetness and depth, with lovely chocolaty tannins and a rich, tobacco-infused finish. Very classy stuff this. £7.00, Woods Winters, Noel Young, House of Menzies and other independents. See all stockists on