Tuesday 6 July 2010

Errazuriz Carmenère 2009

My starter for ten is a Chilean red, from Majestic. There are some great Chilean wines – go on, get me started on Los Vascos, the wine managed by the Rothschilds – and Errazuriz themselves have produced some decent stuff. This one had a little medal on the label to say it had won something or another – but sadly, it was probably an award in marketing rather than winemaking.

Of course it was the price which drew me in. It started at £7.99, but bear with me. There’s an “improved offer” of £6.24. What does that mean, exactly? How does a reduction in price become an “improved offer”, like they’re bidding for your custom? In fact what they’re doing is justifying the next bit; they want to do that Majestic thing of “buy two and get money off”, in this case a 20% reduction. That, of course, is 20% off the “improved offer” price (are you still with me?), which makes it just £4.99. The price at which they always intended to sell it. So after all the jigs and reels, it’s a £4.99 wine.

Cracking, you think, an eight quid wine for under a fiver. So of course, you buy two, don’t you. Which makes you double the mug.

Because if that was an £8 wine, my arse is a concertina. And while you might think, what with the folds and the occasional windy noise, that’s not such a bad analogy, the relationship between this and an £8 wine is far more remote.

This is a thick, fruity wine, as if someone has pushed blackcurrants through a sieve. It has a single, fruit-based note; I likened it in the courteous review I left on the Majestic website to a band being led by its bass guitar; that bass drowns out everything else and just leaves you resonating. It’s strongly alcoholic, which with that powerful frutiness makes it extremely hard to drink. You could stand a spoon up in this one.

I warned My Affianced beforehand that this was a “chewy” wine, which made her want to try it, because she’d never understood that term. But this is a lady who finds Bordeaux in general a bit too heavy, and would feel a rioja was like lifting a sofa. For her, “chewy” now means a wine she couldn’t drink even with ice cubes in it to dilute it down.

I haven’t opened the second bottle yet. Remember those Pinochet days at Uni, when people would take a Chilean bottle to a party and leave it guiltily on the table where it would sit, untouched? This could, nostalgically, suffer that fate…


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