When there is wine as fulfilling and packed with juicy flavors for under $20.00 as the 2012 Casas del Bosque Reserva Carmenère, it has to make you wonder why some people spend money on lesser quality, more expensive wines. The 2012 Casas del Bosque Reserva Carmenère easily merits the 90 point score it received from StephenTanzer’s International Wine Cellar. Deeply colored and packed with pungent aromas and flavors reminiscent of blackberry, mulberry, freshly cut tobacco, chocolate and sweet bell pepper, this flavorful, yet elegantly wrought Carmenère exhibits all of the finest characteristics of the varietal. Although young and in the throes of youthful ardor, Casas del Bosque’s 2012 Reserva Carmenère immediately appeals to the senses, and its layer of soft ripe tannins, which help define and frame the wine’s juicy flavors, never overpower the wine’s central core. And as one would expect from a producer such as Casas del Bosque, balance reigns supreme in this Reserva Carmenère. Although gratifying from the moment it is poured, we suggest affording this artfully crafted wine at least 20-30 minutes of aeration before serving at cool room temperature (60º-65º F).
Carmenère thrives at table. Although ebullient and a pleasure to drink on its own or with just a few slices of cheese or ripe fruit, the 2012 Casas del Bosque Reserva Carmenère truly pays dividends when brought to table, whether with white or red meats, spicy vegetable dishes, or typically difficult to match foods such as asparagus, artichokes, and hummus. To truly shine, why not consider the finest cuts of meat and game? Pressed breast of duck, loin lamb chops, tender cuts of beef, and venison offer some of the most gratifying accompaniments to Casas del Bosque’s 2012 Reserva Carmenère. Yet, this elegant Carmenère also has the ability to elevate a simple midweek meal to a higher realm. Meatloaf, pizza and Eggplant Parmigiana provide excellent companionship. Thin crusted pizzas with three or more cheeses, mushrooms and vegetables provide other tasty accompaniments. And for those who prefer pure comfort food, consider slow roasted pork shoulder with lentils or slow cooked beef or pork sliders with caramelized onions. And if one’s culinary arts or ability to order out are limited, a selection of gourmet cheeses and dark chocolate are certainly in order. Imagine a world in which all three pillars of gastronomic pleasure, cheese, chocolate and wine, reside at table, and if the wine is Casas del Bosque’s Reserva Carmenère, simply enjoy!
Chile continues to be a source of exceptional wines for quality, value and variety. This is due largely to the burgeoning number of boutique wineries such as Casas del Bosque that continuously push the envelope on quality through excellent vineyard management, site selection and meticulous attention in the cellar.
Casas del Bosque sprang to life in 1993 as a family boutique winery dedicated exclusively to the production of high quality wines. And by all accounts this boutique operation is ably fulfilling its mission, as the recent spate of 90+ point ratings will attest. Casas del Bosque is located just 40 miles from Chile’s capital of Santiago and a mere 18 miles from Chile’s principal port of Valparaiso. This boutique operation cultivates its own vineyards in the nearby Casablanca Valley, the preferred place for premium white wine production. They also have significant vineyard holdings in the premier red wine producing valleys of Maipo and Rapel, south of Santiago, for fashioning exceptional Carmenère and Cabernet Sauvignon. Casas del Bosque’s meticulous attention to vineyard management and careful site and varietal selection guarantee superior fruit for their high quality wines. Such care has also earned Casas del Bosque the distinction of Chilean Winery of the Year at the International Wine and Spirits Competition in London in 2013.
Presently, Casas del Bosque has approximately 500 acres of vines under cultivation, spread throughout a myriad of Chile’s best viticultural valleys and microclimates. Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Riesling hail from the winery’s Casablanca holdings and form the backbone of the estate’s white wine portfolio. Some Pinot Noir is also cultivated in Casablanca. Casas del Bosque’s exceptional ultra premium Carmenère and Cabernet Sauvignon red wines emanate from the warmer Rapel and Maipo valleys.
The Rapel Valley covers two of Chile’s most important red wine producing regions: Colchagua Valley and Cachapoal Valley. The sprawling Rapel lies south of Maipo and Chile’s capital, Santiago, encompassing vineyard lands sandwiched between the towering Andes and Chile’s coastal ranges. It is one of the oldest wine producing regions in Chile. The soils are mostly of alluvial origin, and have good porosity and drainage. Cachapoal occupies the northern part of the Rapel, where the climate is cooler and more maritime, as opposed to Colchagua, which enjoys a drier Mediterranean climate, with little rain except in winter. Both regions experience hot daytime temperatures in summer, which prove ideal for the valley’s premium red grape varieties, most notably Carmenère, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah. And as is the case throughout much of central Chile, considerable variation exists in the Rapel Valley between day and night time temperatures, a boon for preserving a wine’s natural acidity and accentuating its aromatic profile. And not surprisingly, microclimates abound in the Rapel. Such climatic differences lend themselves to significant variations in style, structure and concentration among the wines produced, which makes the Rapel Valley an excellent source for a variety of wines of diverse character.
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