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What our expert thought of Siegel Special Reserve Carmenere




the tasting

The Tasting


Carmenère is noted for its deep colour, and this wine is no exception.  It’s almost black.  Hold the glass at an angle and you can see the rich deep red, which is more garnet than ruby.  This 2014 no longer has the purple tinge of youth, but it’s still impressively dark.
 
The nose is impressive too: big, rich, spicy and chocolatey.  It smells like a Bordeaux blend, full of ripe black fruits: blackcurrant, blackberry and blueberry.  There’s some dried figs, too, offset by a herbal edge of mint and black tea.  There is oak here but it’s subtle and smoky – more charred wood than vanilla.
 
The palate is fully dry, with the inherent sweetness of ripe blackcurrant and plum fruit being offset by herbal hints of bay leaf and slight tannic bitterness.  Medium acidity is enough to keep things fresh, aided by plenty of ripe tannins that provide structure.  Despite them and the 14% alcohol, this is not that much more than medium-bodied.
 
The blackcurranty finish is well-spiced with black pepper and cloves.  Chewy tannins make themselves felt, but their drying effect is offset by acidity which seems stronger here than on the palate.  The finish is admirably long, ending on dried herbs.


Assessment


It’s intriguing how this smells and tastes like a Bordeaux variety, with its blackcurrant and herbs, yet isn’t quite like any of the ones I know.  (I’ve only tasted Carmenère a couple of times before.)  I reckon that distinctive character makes this a textbook example of the grape, and more experienced tasters agree.
 
Apparently this is a positively restrained version of Carmenère, which can sometimes have too much of everything except acidity.  This one manages to have plenty of herby, spicy, ripe black fruits without being over-extracted, over-alcoholic or flabby.  Clever use of oak complements the grape’s full-on flavours, and I particularly like the way the big spicy nose is echoed by the long spicy finish.



Tasting notes

Appearance
very deep garnet
Nose

Intensity pronounced

Aromas spices (white pepper, cardamom), ripe black fruit (blackcurrant, blackberry, blueberry), dried herbs (mint, black tea), dark chocolate, oak (charred wood)

Development developing
Palate

Sweetness fully dry

Acidity medium

Body medium(+, just), light for 14%

Tannins medium++, ripe and smooth on palate, but chewy & slightly drying on finish

Intensity medium

Flavours black fruit(blackcurrant, plum), herbs (bay leaf), slight bitterness
Finish

Length long

Flavours spice (black pepper, clove), blackcurrant, ends on dried herbs
Other notes
Clearly a Bordeaux variety, yet distinctive. Slight reduction so best decanted. Good balance but best with food. Ready now.


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