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A History on Carménère

June 14, 2018

We at Wandering Wines are so pleased at the opportunity to bring a high quality Carménère to consumers. This varietal has quite a story. It originally came to Chile in the 1800s alongside more popular Bordeaux varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot; and upon its arrival, it was mistakenly labeled Merlot and planted as such.


The mistaken plantings of “Merlot” were thriving in the Chilean terroir, and Chilean winemakers took  note of its special characteristics. They gave it the nickname “Merlot Chileno”.


At the same time that “Merlot Chileno’s” plantations were spreading rapidly, its ancestors in Europe were on the decline. The Phylloxera epidemic was wiping out every Carménère grape in Europe, and by the 1870s, the variety was presumed extinct.


Fastforward to 1994, when a French ampelographer, Jean Michel Boursiquot, was visiting Viña Carmen in the Maipo region, when he came across a planting he recognized to be Carménère. Needless to say, he was surprised. Thus, the identity of “Merlot Chileno” was revealed as Carménère, and Chile had the world’s largest plantings of a varietal that was thought to be non existent.


While the varietal has since spread to other regions world wide, Chile has retained the greatest diversity of Carménère. “From the spicy Carménère found in the coastal regions, through to plush and rich Carménère in the Central Valley, down to the bright fruits of Maule’s Carménère” (


Go ahead and browse the information on Wandering Wines Reserve Carménère right here and for all things Wandering Wines, make sure to follow our Instagram @TheWanderingWines.

Information for this blog was sourced from, for even more information pertaining to Chilean wine, check out their IG @DrinkChile.