Carmenère

2018Carmenère

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.”

The previous 2017 vintage scored 91+ points from Wine Advocate.

Bottle: $65

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Carmenère
Tasting Note

2018 blessed Carmenère with very fruitful vines. Developed by a cool spring, hot July, and moderate fall days with cool nights, this vintage produced smaller berries from medium size clusters.

Scents of black raspberry with very fine ground peppercorn and rose water dominate the nose. WOW, this is an elegant Carmenère promenading plum, black raspberry and pomegranate, white pepper and loam with an extremely soft layer of oak.

- Chuck Reininger, Winemaker

Technical Information

Blend:
100% Carmenère
Vineyard:
Seven Hills
Appellation:
Walla Walla Valley
Cooperage:
100% French oak (10% new)
Alcohol:
14.3%
pH:
3.8
Total Acidity:
5.8 g/L
Cases Produced
368
Bottled:
June 2020
Released:
April 2021
Drink Between:
2021-2028
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.