Carmenere grape variety in Australia
is a red wine variety which was once popular in the Medoc District in Bordeaux. It fell from favour because of its susceptibility to the disease coulure.
Like Petit Verdot, Carmenere is now quite uncommon in Bordeaux but it shows promise in the new world.
Nowadays this variety most commonly grown in Chile where many vineyards have found that the vines they thought were Merlot were in fact Carmenere.
The vines were imported to Chile from Bordeaux in the nineteenth century and the mistake was not discovered until the 1990s.
As it turned out the Carmenere grape variety has shown it is capable of producing high quality red wine, so many Chilean wineries have stuck with it.
This story has echoes of the Sangiovese/Carnelian mix up in Western Australia, and the more recent fiasco involving Albarino
and Savagnin in Australia
Gladstones puts the Carmenere into Maturity group 7, which means it ripens mid to
late season, along with varieties such as Grenache, Nebbiolo and Petit Verdot.
Australian wineries using this variety
- Brown Brothers King Valley
- Chateau Mildura Murray Darling
- Humis Heathcote
- Lethbridge Wines Geelong
- Macquarie Grove Vineyards Western Plains
- Olssens of Watervale Clare Valley
- Red Earth Estate Western Plains
- Ten Miles East Adelaide Hills
The future of Carmenere in Australia
There is some interest by Australian winemakers in this variety both as material for blending as is done by Amietta and Olssens, or as a straight varietal wine.
The next few years will see if there is likely to be sustainable interest.
Keep in touch with Vinodiversity
Just enter your details below and you will receive an occasional newsletter letting you know all about the alternative varietal wine scene in Australia and beyond.