We’ve been making Walla Walla Carménère from Seven Hills Vineyard since our first vintage in 2002. Renowned wine writer, Paul Gregutt, hailed the 2006 Reininger Carménère as making “a strong claim for being the best Carménère in Washington, if not the country.”
Today, Carménère is one of our most sought after wine club wines and sells out almost exclusively to our members. To guarantee access to this esoteric, fun and peppery grape, please join our wine club.Wine Club
"The nose tells me that the 2015 vintage will be a classic REININGER Carmenere, a wine that has received numerous top honors and that the Wall Street Journal proclaimed, “worth it at any price.”
Its eccentric character provides scents of dark red fruits and peppercorn with hints of earth. Black raspberry, plum and dark cherry load the palate upfront in preparation for a thundering stampede of savory, herbs and peppery spice. The wine possesses a perfect weight, wonderful acidity and medium-fine tannins that combine with loam, black earth and spice to generate a finely chiseled rustic countenance that pairs beautifully with any grilled or smoked foods. ~Chuck Reininger, Winemaker
Seven Hills Vineyard
Walla Walla Valley
100% French (14% new)
Known as the “Lost Bordeaux” grape, Carménère once thrived in the Bordeaux region of France and is believed to be one of the ancient grapes.
During the 1860s, Carménère, along with much of France’s vines, were infested by phylloxera, a tiny little aphid that came over from America. Already a difficult grape to grow, the Carménère vines were pulled up after the phylloxera epidemic and replaced with grapes that were higher yields for exportation: Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.
During this same time period, French vine cuttings of what was believed to be Merlot were sent to Chile. The grapes thrived in Chilean soil, but it wasn’t until the 1990s when scientists tested the vines that they discovered it was the long-lost Carménère grape. Today, Carménère is primarily produced in Chile. But outside of Chile, Carménère is found in Italy, California and the Walla Walla Valley.
In 1997, Leonetti’s Chris Figgins planted the first Carménère in Washington state from cuttings from the Guenoc and Langtry Estates Winery in California at the Leonetti Mill Creek Upland Vineyard. The following year some of those cuttings were shared with Seven Hills Vineyard and Mark Colvin of Colvin Cellars (now out of business). REININGER purchased a block of Carménère grapes from Seven Hills Vineyard as soon as they were eligible and our first vintage was released in 2002. To date, we are the longest running producers of Carménère in Washington.