Grapes: Cabernet sauvignon (85 percent), carmenere (15 percent)
Region: Colchagua Valley, Chile
Availability: Lee’s Discount Liquor
In the glass: This Tacora wine is a deep, dense blood-red color with an opaque core going out into a fine crimson to slightly tinged rim definition with high viscosity.
On the nose: It has immediate crushed black fruits with underlying spice elements, peppery crushed blackberries, huckleberries, black truffle, tobacco leaf, phenolic compounds, earthy minerals, licorice root, herbs, tar and light wood components.
On the palate: There is an immediate big, full-bodied mouth-feel with concentrated wild cherries, pepper-laced and spicy blackberries, huckleberries, bell peppers, massive phenol-laden structure, earthy minerals and oak references. The midpalate is highly affected by the liqueurlike cherry and elderberry fruit with notes of sloe fruit, herbs and earthy minerals and then the bombastic finish sets in lasting for a full minute with yet more licorice root, star anise and wood. That is quite a glass of wine!
Odds and ends: Tacora, named for a famous Chilean volcano, is one of the smaller production wines available in the market here from Chile, unlike massive brands such as Concha y Toro and Montes, and fortunately so for us. Carmenere has been the national grape variety of the country since French immigrants to Chile brought it from Bordeaux in the middle of the 19th century. It definitely merits mention that it blends excellently with cabernet sauvignon as well. In the right proportion, the two grape varietals can produce a sum total result that is greater than either part by itself, and in the Tacora wine here, we see such a successful “marriage.” Colchagua Valley is a few hours south of Chile’s capital, Santiago, and is home to the best wineries in the country, as well as at least seven out of the top 10 wines made in Chile. Tacora is a fine and affordable example of a typical Chilean wine with all the bells and whistles. It loves being paired with grilled meat, so anything you pull off the grill this summer should be the perfect match. Drink it now through 2016.
Gil Lempert-Schwarz’s wine column appears Wednesdays. Write him at P.O. Box 50749, Henderson, NV 89106-0749, or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.