Friday, May 29, 2009

2007 Santa Carolina Carménère Reserva de Familia

Type: Red
Producer: Santa Carolina
Variety: Carménère
Designation: Reserva de Familia
Country: Chile
Region: Central Valley
SubRegion: Rapel Valley
Appellation: Rapel Valley
Disclosure- This was received as a free bottle sample.

The Big Wooden Guy is a bit hesitant. it has some promise, and it has a great QPR, but ultimately it's just not that terrific. "Pretty good, but a great value" is accurate, but, at least to me, underwhelming.

Night One

Imagine melting a stick of butter over a bowl full of dark fruit, then sprinkling it all with black pepper, and you will know the nose of this wine. The fruit in the bowl is dark and rich, mulberry and elderberry, with a tiny tell-tale hint of green pepper in the background that announces this wine is from Chile.

On the palate, the same dark fruit and butter appear on the attack, with obvious high alcohol, but high enough acidity to give balance. The "Chile!" green pepper appears on the mid-palate, along with some vanilla, but not an overpowering amount indicative of too much wood. This is a big, fruity wine. Tannins are sweet and silky, and it has a very good mouth-feel.

Night Two

The nose is similar to Night One, with the same butter over dark fruit, but now the green pepper is far more pronounced. The fruit on the palate is bit more tart than on Night One, more blackberry than mulberry, with a little bit of elderberry still there, along with black pepper. There is not as much green pepper as on the nose. Some vanilla, and now brown sugar, appear on the mid-palate. The finish falls off rather quickly.

This is a good QPR wine, but not really a great wine. It is also a pop-n-pour, not something to cellar for a long time or decant over several hours. With additional time the green pepper becomes more pronounced and the wood treatment more obvious and more cloying.

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