December 10, 2008

MontGras Carmenere Reserva, 2008, Colchagua Valley, Chile

By Andrew Barrow In Wine Notes

MontGras Carmenere Reserva, 2008, Colchagua Valley, Chile

An entry for Wine Blogging Wednesday (update to include an illustration).
Chile has, over the years, eclipsed Australia as the country to offer value-packed wines. The Wine Blogging Wednesday theme being value reds from Chile indicates that perhaps the Americans have yet to notice what stonking value-packed, drinkable, wines Chile is now producing. The Mont Gras normally retails at near the £7 mark (expensive for some, average price for others) but at the Waitrose offer price of a smidge over a fiver, excellent value. (What are sales like though at full-price with Carmenere on the label?).

Red Wine Review/Tasting NoteWine Tasting Note: MontGras Carmenere Reserva, 2008, Colchagua Valley, Chile.
Stockist: Waitrose Price: £5.39 [More on Adegga / Snooth]
Forceful aroma – brambly, spicey, leathery. Full-flavoured and full-bodied on the palate. Plenty of flavour dominated by briary blackberries and a healthy smear of tannin to remind you this is Carmenere. Oaky notes and sweet new world fruit that masks a slight lack in complexity of flavour and a touch too much alcohol but it drinks very nicely, especially with food. Classily packaged, heavy weight tapered bottle. High alcohol at 14.5%.

Scribblings Rating – 88/100 [3.5 out of 5]

Carmenere really needs food to tame that wild fruit character and heady tannin – a Steak and Kidney Pie (made locally by a friendly butcher) and chips did it for me last night. The MontGras website which, incidentally, offers plenty of technical info on this and their other wines (grapes handpicked and selected May 7th and 15th 2007, cold soaked 3 days, 15 days total skin contact, yeast type PDM etc etc) recommends

“sweet and sour preparations, home style stews and dishes seasoned with cumin. It also compliments pâtés and duck liver, especially if they include a bit of pepper. Can also be enjoyed with pastas and salmon.”

  1. Rob December 10, 2008

    Always great to get a UK perspective.

  2. Dale Cruse December 11, 2008

    It seems like plenty of folks are discovering Carmenere after Spectator hyped the heck out of it!

  3. Tim December 11, 2008

    Thanks for participating in Wine Blogging Wednesday. It looks like you found a great value with this pick. Cheers!

  4. dhonig December 11, 2008

    Is it really an ’08? That seems pretty darned fast to have bottled and distributed. Interesting.
    The ’07 got an 89 from Wine Advocate, so if it’s really the ’07, I hope you’ll cross-post it to The 89 Project. (

  5. Andrew December 11, 2008

    Yep, it is 2008 – well that’s what it says on the label. I did wonder myself, dhonig.

  6. Dylan December 12, 2008

    That is a great value, and more than that, my father was looking for a great pairing for a salmon dinner. I came across this post just in time.


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