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wine of the week 21/09/2008

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  Viu Manent (Chile) Secreto Carménère 2007
This over-achieving Carménère was the best of a bunch I tasted recently at a Wines of Chile event. It comes from vines with an average age of 17 years, in the Colchagua Valley. There is 15% of 'other' undisclosed varieties in the blend, which was aged for eight months in French barrels (with just a few American barrels too), 80% of which were new. It has an intense purple colour and a big, mineral and cedar nose, with charcoal, coffee and black fruit. The fruit on the palate is very pure and ripe, with a charry-edged blackcurrant character that is plush and sweet, before espresso and liquorice beefs up the finish. Balanced and with a long, savoury finish, this is a really impressive Carménère with bags of character and enough structure and concentration to cellar for five years or more. £7.99, Les Caves de Pyrène, Noel Young.

There may still be stocks of 2006 about at time of writing, which is reputedly excellent too.