AG Pick Under $15: Morande Reserva Carmenere 2008

For its big taste at a little price, you can’t beat Carmenère from Chile.  It’s my go to grape when I’m in the mood for something bold and spicy but don’t want to drink one of the more expensive bottles in my collection.  It’s also great for get-togethers with friends.  I enjoy introducing people to this varietal and because of its low price you won’t mind opening up an extra bottle.

If you still have yet to taste Carmenère, pick up a bottle of the 2008 Morandé Reserva Carmenère.  Like most Carmenère it costs less than $15 but tastes like it should cost more, with its rich mix of earth and black fruit.

This deep purple-red, almost black wine comes from Chile’s Maipo Valley.  Right away you’ll notice an enticing smoky aroma that will make your mouth water as you imagine sweet barbecued meats.  Black fruits, violet and pepper round out the nose and continue to develop on the palate.  A taste reveals a full-bodied mix of blackberry, black cherry, cassis, black pepper, sandalwood and smoke, with a hint of a pleasant musty-earthy flavor reminiscent of an Old World wine.  Good tannins and acidity give the wine structure, and the smooth finish lingers in your mouth.

The 2008 Morandé Reserva Carmenère is one of those wines where you say “yum” out loud after your first sip.

This wine pairs nicely with steak, lamb and other grilled or barbecued red meats.

A bottle of the 2008 Morandé Reserva Carmenère costs around $10.