International Carmenère Day: 15 award-winning wines to discover

Top Carmenere wines from DWWA 2022

The obscure and almost forgotten grape variety of Bordeaux, Carmenère has been given serious attention in Chile, with very good examples to be found across the country.

Sharing parentage from Cabernet Franc with Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, Carmenère tends to display herbaceous notes alongside red and black fruits and layers of spice. Like Merlot, Carmenère wines typically have silky, supple tannins, and now more than ever, fresher, fruitier, identifiable styles are being produced.

As results from the 2022 Decanter World Wine Awards attest, Carmenère is a mainstay in Chile’s Cachapoal and Colchagua Valleys, but plantings are spreading with quality wines to be found from Maipó Valley to Curicó. And while Carmenère flourishes in Chile, the variety is attracting interest in other wine producing countries, too.

Scroll down to see the top-scoring Carmenère wines of DWWA 2022

Once again, a look to DWWA results highlights award-winning Carmenère blends coming from Canada, Italy and South Africa to Hungary and Croatia.

Black Hills Estate Winery’s varietal Carmenère from the Okanagan Valley, Canada is one to look out for. Awarded a Gold medal for its 2018 vintage at DWWA 2021 and a Silver in 2022 for the 2019 vintage, the judges describe the wine as ‘divine’ with an understated and elegant cool-climate character.

To celebrate International Carmenère Day this 24 November, see below for a selection of top-scoring Carmenère wines from the Decanter World Wine Awards to try, with many more to discover on the DWWA results site here.

International Carmenère Day: 15 award-winning wines to discover

Chile: Cachapoal

Casas del Toqui, Gran Toqui 2019

Silver, 90 points | 100% Carménère
Rich plum and damson fruits alongside notes of coconut, vanilla, and paprika. Oak dominates the palate. Old-school but opulent and seductive. Alc 14%

Vik, La Piu Belle 2019

Silver, 90 points | 44% Carménère, 41% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14% Syrah
Lavishly rich chocolatey dark fruit with lots of creamy oak. Old school opulence with a bittersweet finish. Blockbuster! Alc 14%

Central Valley

Santa Helena, Alpaca, Central Valley 2021

Silver, 90 points | 90% Carménère, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon
Juicy and peppery. Not trying too hard. A nicely made blend speaking of its variety and is very easygoing. Good! Alc 13%

Casillero del Diablo Reserva, Central Valley 2020

Silver, 90 points | 85% Carménère, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon
A serious wine with smoky red peppers, cassis, and blue fruits with a touch of graphite and a dense firm palate. Alc 13.5%


Ventisquero, Vertice, Apalta 2019

Gold, 96 points | 51% Carmenère, 49% Syrah
Offers glossy dark fruits, smoky hints, and classic Apalta eucalyptus notes. The palate is crunchy and fresh with lively acidity and fine tannins. Young, but so poised and age-worthy. A seriously impressive style that will improve. Alc 14%

Viña Futaleufu, Anun Icon Blend 2017

Silver, 93 points | 45% Carménère, 30% Syrah, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon
Complex, evolved style. Hints of tobacco and roasted pepper with some high-toned floral hints and baked red cherry. Plenty going on. Alc 14%

Viña Casa Silva, Gran Terroir, Los Lingues 2021

Silver, 90 points | 100% Carménère
Deep inky damson fruit with roasted red pepper and sandalwood. Juicy and crunchy, with a moreish finish. Lovely stuff. Alc 13.8%


Huasu Reserva Especial de Barricas,Teno 2019

Silver, 90 points | 85% Carménère, 10% Malbec, 5% Cabernet Franc
Ripe plum, rusty nail, and balsamic with thyme, rosemary, and violet lift followed by a creamy textured palate. Alc 13.5%


J Bouchon, Mingre 2019

Platinum, 97 points | 40% Carménère, 35% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Syrah
Complex aromatics of roasted pepper and peas, cassis and red berry fruits, with fresh herbal elements that work really well. The palate is juicy and upbeat, with fine tannins and a note of bitter chocolate on the finish giving a dark complexity. Alc 14%

J Bouchon, Canto Sur 2021

Gold, 95…

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International Carmenère Day: 15 award-winning wines to discover  
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