WINE SPECIAL: Carmenere INAMA–Veneto

medium body, elegant nose of small dark berries, cocoa and black pepper balance for a long finish 12 | 17 | 48

Carmenere is a rare varietal by Italian standards. Produced mainly in South America, it has made a surprise appearance in the north of Italy. Carmenere originated from the Bordeaux region of France, and before the 1870s it was a prevalent blending grape in Bordeaux.

However, due to the phylloxera infestation, nearly all the Carmenere vines – along with most of the vineyards in Bordeaux – were wiped out. When vignerons in Bordeaux replanted, they opted to plant the easier-to-grow Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot instead. Thus, Carmenere was thought to be on the verge of extinction. 

A resurgence of the varietal took place mostly in South America, after DNA tests in 1994 confirmed that what was thought to be Merlot was in fact the once forgotten grape. A similar occurrence happened in Italy and continues to cause a stir in the north. More wineries are discovering this magnificent grape that was thought to be something else.

After purchasing many hectares of what was believed to be Cabernet Franc in the north of Italy, Inama discovered that they also had plots of Carmenere that had found the perfect new home to thrive. Inama is the first estate to create an important project with the Carménère in the Colli Berici area and to give an identity to this variety with a new DOC: Colli Berici Carménère.

Inama’s goal in the production of Carmenere is to produce wines that are different with the aim of presenting their vision of the land, without getting caught up in styles and trends of the times. This product, at the moment, has no competitors in Europe.

Carmenere is known for producing wines with red fruit flavors, along with an unmistakable pepper note, much like its sister vines. The four grapes of Merlot, Carmenere, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Hondarribi Beltza have the same parent, which is Cabernet Franc.

GRAPE VARIETY: 70% Carmenere (kar-men-nair) 30% Merlot

COLOR: Vivid ruby core with a narrow purple rim.

PALATE: Medium body, elegant nose of small dark berries, cocoa and black pepper balance for a long finish.

DRINKS LIKE: Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Boudreaux Blends, Merlot

PAIRS WITH: Roasted meats, especially lamb, and cumin.