Carmènere is a grape that was once an important player in Bordeaux – indeed it is part of the Cabernet family – but it is now rarely seen there.
Instead it has found a home in Chile, where for many years it was confused with Merlot and has become something of a signature grape.
It can be blended with other red grapes but is increasingly seen as a single varietal and can produce deeply coloured smooth wines with ripe dark fruits, spices and often notes of chocolate. As a wine it works well with steak, spicy dishes and even curries.
Mont Gras Carmènere Reserva 2012, Colchagua (Waitrose, Ocado £9.49) is very dark with ripe plummy fruit, spices and herbs followed by a soft, ripe palate and a juicy finish. It would work very well as a mid-week red wine with some spicy sausages.
TOP TIPPLE: Caliterra Tributo Carmènere 2011, Colchagua
This wine recently won the award for the Best Carmènere in Chile. Very deeply coloured, the nose is expressive with dark fruits, vanilla, black pepper and a little mocha, it is very smooth with some polished oak on the palate and quite a rich finish and works really well with a steak and Stilton pie.
Fareham Wine Cellar £10.25 www.winedirect.co.uk £10.50