MATT'S WINE NOT! CALINA RESERVA CARMENERE 2007 CHILEAN RED WINE

Well well well dear reader, lucky you! One night, two wines! Double your pleasure now with this spicy red from another land down under, Chile. Kinda ironic that a country with a spicy name produces a spicy wine! Or maybe it's the wine talking.

But first, let me tell you a tale of the carmenere grape used to make this baby, for it is one that could have been ripped right out of the pages of Jurassic Park. Or maybe not. Let's not get images of wine making dinosaurs...but I digress. This particular grape once flourished in Bordeaux, France, but a plant plague swept through in the 19th century and nearly wiped it out to extinction.

However, due to cuttings taken from Bordeaux by Chilean growers in the 19th century, the variety survived in the New World where it was often confused with merlot grapes. This grape thrived and continues to do so to this day, especially in Chile.

So! Consider yourself lucky to read this review, for this grape might have been consigned to the pages of history, but instead, it swished around my mouth and produced the following!

Synthetically corked, this wine once poured is a very striking deep, rich red colour, almost blackberry in nature, showing a different character than other reds I've reviewed just in colour alone.

Upon taking a whiff...wOO! it gives a strong nose of fruit, and one can immediately pick up the spicy, peppery nature of Calina; in two words: very robust.

And, taking a slug, one gets a slight spicy kick and is very strong, and very dry; the spices almost are sent up one's nose (perhaps this is great for drinking during cold and flu season). This is surely full bodied and is heavy and thick tasting.

The bottle lectures (erm, tells) you thusly about taste: "...black fruit and blackberry flavors with added notes of mocha and spices. The finish...is complex with red fruit, hints of smoke, oak, spices and velvety tannins..." You are now enlightened!

I'll admit it. I'm not a fan of spicy wines. In my younger days (where did they go!) I once bought a spicy red and poured it down the drain. My blasphemy aside, I'd say this wine isn't one to really drink on its own; pair it with a well-done steak or other red meat, and help take the edge off this one.

Still, a pretty decent drink, and very unique in character. Worth trying, if anything, just to discover what this once thought lost grape produces.

**3/4 out of 4

Purchased at a Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO) store for C$15.95 (US$14.82).

From LCBO.com:

CALINA RESERVA CARMENERE 2007, 750 mL bottle
LCBO/Vintages #951079
Wine, Red Wine
13.5% Alcohol/Vol.
Sugar Content: XD
Made in: Chile
By: Kendall-Jackson

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