Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Washington Carmenere v. Chile

The UCI season is winding down and many of the pros are starting to head out on vacation or to warmer climates for some relaxation.  Between now and the end of the year I will be taking some time to explore wines from parts of the world the pro peleton does not hit during their racing season.

First up we will feature a match between a Washington State Carmenere and a Carmenere from Chile.  2007 Otis Kenyon Carmenere v. 2009 Terra Noble Gran Reserva Carmenere

Tale of the Tape

2007 Otis Kenyon Carmenere

92% Carmenere and 8% Cabernet Sauvignon from the Phinney Hill and Pepperbridge Vineyards in the Horse Heavan Hills AVA

Purchased from the winery for $36.

2009 Terra Noble Gran Reserva Carmenere

96% Carmenere and 4% Cabernet Sauvignon from the Maule Valley in the San Clemente appelation.  Aged for 12 months in French and American barrels.

Sample provided by the winery.

Round 1.  First Opening:

The Terra Noble is showing a nose of dark berries, mineral earthiness, pepper and spices.  The palate shows big dark berries, with some dusty sweet spices and a finish of cherries mixed with some spice.

The Otis Kenyon has an interesting nose of dark fruit, pencil lead and pepper with a palate of tart black fruit and a cracked pepper finish.

Terra Noble comes out firing from the gun with a bigger complex character taking the first round with relative ease.

Round 2.  One hour after Opening

The Terra Noble is really spicy with a nose that is dominated by pepper.  There is also a significant amount of black sweet fruit on the nose and palate that leads into a sweet peppery finish.

Otis Kenyon is not a competitor that you want to get riled up.  Family history says that Otis literally burned down his competition.  Otis comes into the ring flaunting a nose of black fruits with some floral notes and plenty of pepper.  The palate is similar with a sweet cedar and Asian spiced finish.

Mounting a comeback, Otis Kenyon takes round two evening the match up at 1-1.

Round 3. One day later

Which one of these Luchadors has the stamina to make a difference in round 3?

The Terra Noble isn't backing down with a nose of dark sweet fruit and coffee.  The palate has lots of pepper, spice and black cherry with a tart finish that includes a bit of coffee bean and menthol.

Could the Chilean Luchador be playing with fire?  What does Otis "Pyromania" Kenyon have to say?

Otis Kenyon is firing like a pinwheel on Ace Frehley's guitar with a nose of earthy dark berries. pepper and coffee.  The palate is also showing dark berries, pepper and some Asian spices leading to a tart finish of pepper and toffee.

The Terra Noble proved to be a formidable matchup for the Washington State Carmenere.  In the end, the Otis Kenyon proved to be bigger, badder and spicier taking the final round and the match 2-1.

Wrap up and over all observations

Carmenere is one of Chile's most well known and famous grapes.  After experimenting with several different wineries this one from Terra Noble proved to be the best I have tried (so far).  That wasn't enough to knock off the Otis Kenyon Washington state take on this spicy grape.

Both of these wines were solid and earned marks of an 87 for the Terra Noble and an 88 for the Otis Kenyon.

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