Carmenère

2016Carmenère

Seven Hills

We’ve been making Walla Walla Carmenère from Seven Hills Vineyard since our first vintage in 2002. Renowned wine writer, Paul Gregutt, hailed the 2006 Reininger Carmenère as making “a strong claim for being the best Carmenère in Washington, if not the country.”

Today, Carmenère 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
Carmenère
Tasting Notes

Known as the “Lost Bordeaux,” Carménère has perhaps the most intriguing story of all the Noble Bordeaux varietals. It once thrived in France but was devastated by phylloxera in the 1860s. Thought to be extinct, Carménère was discovered in Chile in the 1990s, and made its way to Walla Walla in 1997.

This unique wine has a beautiful dark crimson color and exhibits spicy aromas of black and pink peppercorn, smoke and damp soil mingled with a flood of raspberries, Rainier cherries, bramble and baking spices. Its soft tannins, bright acid and silky mouthfeel deliver layers of complexity. Smoked meats and cracked leather blend beautifully with notes of black cherry, black currant, herbs, black earth and spice to generate the perfect rustic countenance to this ancient varietal that pairs beautifully with any grilled or smoked foods.
~Abbie Clark, Marketing & Event Manager

Technical Information

Blend:
100% Carmenère
Vineyard:
Seven Hills Vineyard
Appellation:
Walla Walla Valley
Cooperage:
100% French oak (35% new)
Alcohol:
13.8%
pH:
3.81
Total Acidity:
6.3 g/L
Cases Produced:
280
Bottled:
July 2018
Released:
Spring 2019
Drink Between:
2019-2026
History of Carmenère

Known as the “Lost Bordeaux” grape, Carmenère once thrived in the Bordeaux region of France and is believed to be one of the ancient grapes.

During the 1860s, Carmenère, 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 Carmenère 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, Carmenère is primarily produced in Chile. But outside of Chile, Carmenère 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 Carmenère 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 Carmenère in Washington.