In all honesty, the first thing that attracted me to this one was the name – Chocolan. We don’t drink a lot of Chilean wine, but on the basis that Carmenere is the country’s signature red grape (even after it was outed masquerading as Merlot) and that Whole Foods has the most excellent range of interesting and high quality wines, I reckoned it was worth a try. And it was! It’s a lovely dark, concentrated wine that was enthusiastically hoovered up by our friends. We paired it with Aubergine & Borlotti Meat Balls: it’s quite a powerful wine, with oodles of black fruit, so needs full flavoured stodge to keep it in check.
On the palette it is inky and the intense black currant notes are reminiscent of a new world Cabernet Sauvignon. It is a little more savoury than other examples of Carmenere I have had from Chile but there is definitely the characteristic lick of spice and a leafy, herby freshness. And chocolate – fortunately – so I could feel truly justified on buying a wine based on the name of the producer!
And now for the technical bit. Did you know that Chile has 14 wine regions, covering close to 1,000 miles north to south? There is heaps of diversity as the climate is so variable. Chocalan is situated in one of the warmer parts, the Maipo Valley, which surrounds Santiago, and is part of Chile’s most established wine producing region.
At a glance
- Style? Full bodied red wine
- Where is it from? Maipo Valley, Chile
- What’s the grape? Carmenere
- Tastes of? Black currants, spice, chocolate
- What food would complement it? Rustic dishes – something containing mushrooms, aubergine or beans/lentils, with a tomato sauce, for example