Monday, May 16, 2005

Chilean Carmenère - 2002 Estate Bottled Colchagua Valley Apaltagua Carmenère

Perrin Cotes du RhoneWith today’s supreme court decision, I should’ve poured something I ordered via the internet from an out of state winery, but honestly, even though it’s been legal to do so here since ‘03 I just prefer to buy locally. When it’s shipped direct to me, the chances that it’s sat on a pallet in the hot sun or in a hot UPS truck are generally not worth it, even for the lower priced ‘value’ wines I generally buy. Perhaps I put too much faith in it, but I suspect when a retailer gets wine shipped it arrives in a refrigerated truck. Me? Mine would come in a crummy brown UPS truck. Ever notice one of those to be refrigerated? Yeah, me neither. And it’s hot here!

Yeah, there are still some hurdles left to the online and direct purchase of wine for me. First, it’s mainly still going to be from people who are visiting a winery rather than random buyers, and second, it better be packaged such that I’m confident it’s going to arrive as good as it left the winery. That last one is something I think is inevitable, but just not quite there yet.

Meanwhile, how about some Chilean wine? I’d been commenting in my last post about the Central Coast Sauvignon Blanc that I had over the weekend that I like the green pepper tastes of the NZ Sauv Blancs. Well, here’s a red that offers a little something similar.

I can’t say I know anything about the Carmenère grape, but apparently it’s known as the "lost Bordeaux" variety, as it was originally planted in Bordeaux, but was abandoned there because it was too late ripening for their climate.

In this case, I grabbed it because I was having some peppered tenderloin steak. Together, the pair were great. Alone, the wine initially had a hint of new leather but otherwise very clearly had a peppery taste. And green pepper was definitely a component of the taste. This article goes on to say a bit more about Carmenère, including a bit about unripened Carmenère imparting a vegetal taste. So maybe some of the green pepper taste of this wine comes from it being just a little less than appropriately ripe.

One last note: the hand rubbed peppering for my steak came from a packet I got originating at the Perini Ranch steakhouse out in the middle of nowwhere’s land Texas. It was a freebie from the TX beef council. Doesn’t look like it’s available to order from the Perini web site, but the ingredients for the ‘steak rub’ are right there on the side of the package:

  • 1 tsp corn starch or flour
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 Tbsp course ground pepper
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp granulated beef stock base
About $10 (Austin)
a hearty red that was great with some peppered steak. Good value.

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