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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.