Elqui Valley, Chile; 14.5% ABV
65% Carmenére, 35% Syrah
imported by North Berkeley Imports
$3 at the Geary St, San Francisco, store on 24 Nov. Also at the Richmond store.
As someone who’s become fond of Carmenère from those I’ve gotten almost entirely from the GO, I grabbed this right away. (There was also a Chono Reserva Pinot Noir, but I almost always dislike Chilean Pinot, so I left it.)
The wine started out a bit reserved, but with a rough, gritty texture that promised to air into a complex and delicious wine. For my taste at least, that promise was not quite fulfilled. After about 80 minutes of air, it showed nice flavors of medium-ripe blackberry, dark purple plum, and boysenberry, with the typical Carmenère notes of green bell pepper and creosote, becoming darker, riper, smoother, and a little liqueur-like as it continued to air. (Except perhaps for some underlying red fruit and tannin, I’m not that sure what the Syrah adds.) However, the wine never totally integrated and the finish was still a little rough, even in the half bottle that I saved with a stopper and very little air. So, for this low price, I’ll make this Thumbs Up, but unfortunately not a very enthusiastic one.
Update: I left the rest of the half bottle sitting open on the table for a day, thinking it was not very interesting. However, I tasted it before pouring it down the sink, and it was actually pretty good, maybe more on the acid side, but nicely aired and integrated, without the rough finish. Probably, instead of using a half bottle and a stopper, I should have just kept it in the original bottle and put a cork in the top.