The frugal nature of January means February is often a mini celebration! You made it, you stretched the dreaded January pay packet, ate less cheese, had a dry(er) month, finally got the Christmas stuff into the loft and are generally ‘back in the groove’.
What better to drink as part of this celebration of February than the under-rated but extremely delicious carménère grape? Supposedly Carménère is to Chile what Malbec is to Argentina, and they aren’t a million miles apart in flavour and style; dark, smooth and velvety with both oomph and elegance. It is a grape that you can curl up to a night of Netflix or plonk in the middle of the kitchen table on a Friday night to soak up a feast and some decent conversation whilst comparing notes of how your dry January and diets went. Nice too that it’s a bit different, ticks off the New Year’s Resolution of breaking out of the rut and trying something new, even if it is just one step away from your favourite.
Carménère does have a secret weapon that gives it the upper hand over Malbec in certain situations; it has a magical affinity with curry spices, especially fenugreek. Try them together and it will literally blow your mind, creating a unique, third, flavour. Steer clear of the vindaloos though, alcohol and chilli don’t mix too well so you need to avoid extra hot dishes.
If this has whetted your appetite head to WoodWinters for a bottle of Emiliana Adobe Carménère from Chile. It’s hard to find an Emiliana wine that isn’t good, they are masters of understatement and make great £6 wines and extra-ordinary £20 wines with the same care, especially for the environment, try their blend ‘Coyam’ when you are feeling flush. They run strong sustainability programmes and several of their wines, like this one, are organic, which means it ticks the ‘my body is a temple box’ too.
In the glass it is dark and intense, with lovely cherry and plum flavours and just a hint of pepper and spice, don’t be fooled, like Malbec it has a decent backbone so needs food with it – time to order that take away!
Adobe Carménère, WoodWinters, £8
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