Through a translator, Garcia explained that after 25 years, TerraNoble Carménère has progressed from wines that were typified by green notes, to overripe, to toasted notes, to today's fresh fruit forward style with juicy acidity. He credited the winery's constant learning about Carménère as having brought the wines to where they are today.
Started in the Maule Valley, the San Clemente estate vineyard was planted in 1994. Now the vineyards are sustainable and vegan certified. First up in the tasting were two examples of Carménère grown in the Colchagua Valley, in the warm foothills of the Andes Mountains.
CA 1 Andes Colchagua Valley Carménère 2016
This one was aged for 14 months in 85% used barrels and 15% untoasted foudres. Alcohol tips 14% abv and the wine retails for $25.
This dark wine offers a nose of black fruit and cassis, painted with cedar, clove and cinnamon. The very expressive aromas put me in mind of the holidays. The palate is alive with the dark berry notes and oak spice, and a monstrous set of tannins that need some decant time to soften. Don’t worry, the wine will still handle any steak you put in front of it.
CA 1 Andes Colchagua Valley Carménère 2017
Aged for 14 months in 80% used barrels and 20% untoasted foudres, this wine touches 14.1% abv and sells for $25.
The notes on the 2016 CA 1 apply here as well. This is a wild wine, full of aromas and flavors, brimming with tannins, ready to rumble.
CA 2 Carménère Costa 2017
Grown in the coastal mountain range of Chile's Colchagua Valley, this CA 2 wine demonstrates the coastal version of Carménère. It was aged for 14 months in 80% used barrels and 20% untoasted foudres. Alcohol noses up to 14.3% abv and the retail price is $25.
The nose on this version of TerraNoble’s Carménère hits more bright red and blue notes than the two I tried previously. The palate is a lot calmer, too, although the tannins hold their own. It's a more user-friendly Carménère, and more fun to drink on its own.
TerraNoble Gran Reserva Carménère 2017
Aging for 12 months in 75% used French oak barrels and 25% untoasted foudres, this wine has alcohol at 14% abv and it sells for $19.
This Carménère shows a world of difference from the others in the TerraNoble line I’ve been trying. There is a boatload of dark fruit, to be sure, with black cherry getting into the act. The tannins are more reserved upon pouring while the acidity remains bright and juicy. It's an excellent example of Chilean Carménère.
TerraNoble Gran Reserva Carignan 2018
This Carignan was made from an old vineyard - planted in 1958 - in a hotter climate, yet still close to the ocean in the Maule Valley.
Aged for 10-12 months, half in concrete eggs called Dolia, half in untoasted foudres, alcohol hits only 13.8% abv and retail is $19.
This inky wine has a slightly medicinal nose, with blackberry and tar notes. The tannins are forceful to a fault upon opening. Let it sit awhile and allow them to be less inflamed. The fruit is fairly forefront, possibly due to the aging of half the wine in concrete eggs. The savory finish is quite long and satisfying.