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Mont Gras (Chile) Carmenère Reserva 2001
I still reckon that Carmenère is potentially Chile's most exciting red wine grape. Since it hit the headlines a few years ago, when Chilean producers suddenly discovered all those old vines they had labeled as Merlot were actually a much rarer and almost forgotten grape of Bordeaux, more and more Carmenère has appeared in the 4.99 to 7.99 price bracket, and much of it over-delivers. Mont Gras is a perfect case in point. The nose if a wonderfully smoky amalgam of cedar and pencil shavings (it spends nine months in French oak), rich blackcurrant fruit and all sorts of pepper, clove and violet nuances. On the palate it delivers a great swathe of mouthfilling, plush black fruit. The vanilla and plum-pie weight and roundness bolsters the wine, and there's a lovely cut of cherry acidity, but this is all about length and purity of black fruit. Very drinkable now, but it has the structure for a couple of years in the cellar too. £6.99 Sainsbury's, Waitrose.