I possess a Daredevil-like sense of smell. I notice aromas floating in the air that few people do, from potpourri across the house, blooming flowers the next block over, sauteed onions from outside the front door and — my least favorite thing on the planet — incense burning in a nearby apartment. Inherited from the chef-side of my family, this intense sense is both a blessing and curse, since there are also plenty of not-so-fabulous aromas floating in the air too. And, as you likely know, taste is heavily dependent on smell (think about when you have a cold) so my taste factor is also influenced by this, um, blurse.
But that’s where tasting wine becomes really cool. I smell and taste a lot of things in a wine. Like green pepper (aka pyrazine vegetal-ness) in many Chilean Carmenere wines. I whiff it first, then it bursts into my mouth. Generally experienced in grapes that haven’t ripened enough, the green pepper experience in Carmenere is part of its DNA. I never warmed up to this flavor and still don’t care for it. So when I get a sample bottle of Carmenere, I’m rarely psyched. However, the Anderra 2013 Carmenere surprised me. It helps that the wine is is the Chilean project by the Baron Phillipe de Rothschild winery. Yep, that Rothschild from France’s famed Mouton Rothschild. [Keep in mind that Carmenere originally came from Bordeaux, France]
Tried side by side paired with a fabulous spice mix they sent with the sample wine (a hot little number from Savory Spices), both the Anderra 2013 Carmenere and Cabernet Sauvignon were solid wines. The impressive Carmenere sports solid, food-friendly acidity, layers of fruit from ripe black plums and blackberry preserves, approachable tannins, spicy black pepper, lush vanilla, sophistication, class and elegance. And virtually no green pepper. There’s a hint of it, but I’m not nit picking — they tamed the pyrazine. Well done. Especially for the price of about $10-$11.
The Anderra 2012 Cabernet, featured in the photo, offers a less exciting flavor profile but is solid, nonetheless. Juicy black cherry, black pepper, solid acidity and smooth tannins. It also retails for an easy $11.
Anderra 2013 Carmenere and 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon
Sweetness: 1 out of 10
Occasion: Sample sent from winery
Availability: Big box retail stores and some high-end grocery stores.
Food Pairings: Grilled steak or chicken rubbed with Savory Spice Shop Mapuche Seasoning, hearty, slow-roasted meats with some fattiness to them like Beef Short Ribs, lamb stew, or aged cheddar cheeses