Founded by the Cuneo family, a group of Italian immigrants, back in 1993, the heart of Casas del Bosque is situated right in the Casablanca valley of Chile.
The winery takes its name, “Casas del Bosque” (Forest Houses), from the large and ancient forests of pine and olive trees and the small white adobe houses.
Today the winery owns a single vineyard of 189 hectares, dedicated exclusively to the production of cool climate varietals such as Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Riesling, Pinot Noir, Syrah, Malbec, and Cabernet Franc.
Their Cabernet Sauvignon offerings, as well as their Carmenere (which we will be focusing on today), are carefully sourced from vineyards in Maipo, Colchagua, and Cachapoal.
Casas del Bosque Carmenere Review
Carmenere was originally one of the so-called “noble varieties” in Bordeaux, France. In the 1800s, amounts of Carmenere were imported into Chile, along with the other varietals.
The grapes were mistaken for Merlot and were planted alongside Merlot and used interchangeably for years.
Fast forward to around 1860, when botanists accidentally introduced a tiny yellow louse called phylloxera from native American rootstock.
This louse was thought to have wiped out pretty much all of the Carmenere in the world. Then, in 1994, an oenologist happened to discover some very odd-looking “Merlot” grapes while visiting Chile.
Lo and behold, it was the long-lost Carmenere! After this, the wine became one of the most, if not the single most important, varietal in the Chilean wine industry.
The wine is a dull garnet color in the glass and sported some rather hefty legs, which formed slowly and oozed down the side of the glass in their own due time.
Lots of wild red fruit to take in here. I get a lot of ripe strawberries, freshly crushed raspberries, and cherry juice.
There are also notes of peppercorn, tobacco, and a bit of mintiness which adds a sense of freshness to the aroma, which I was not expecting. The smell is quite pungent, reaching up from the glass as if to grab you and drag you into it.
Fresh raspberry juice, tart cherries, and green pepper all hit the tongue in unison right out of the gate on this one.
Those notes are complemented by light notes of cocoa powder and dark chocolate, along with a slightly herbaceous quality that was almost akin to mint.
What does Casas del Bosque Carmenere pair with?
Carmenere such as this tend to be incredibly versatile and food-friendly wines for several reasons. First, the naturally high acidity makes for excellent pairing next to foods with higher acidity sauces.
Secondly, this wine, along with most Carmenere, boasts very little tannin, which makes it an easy pairing option for dishes without too much fat content.
Finally, the herbaceous peppercorn-like characteristics here really help lighter meat dishes to sing.
Personally, I would pair this one with either roasted pork or lamb, which has been heavily seasoned and garnished with mint.
What wines are similar to Casas del Bosque Carmenere?
If you enjoy this bottle, I strongly recommend trying any of the Carmenere offerings from Concha Y Toro, as they are widely available and quite well made to boot.
Alternatively, give Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon a try. They tend to have some of the same red fruit and green pepper notes and are remarkably food friendly as well.
In fact, one of the very first wines I had ever purchased was Casillero del Diablo Cabernet Sauvignon from Concha Y Toro.
While I really enjoyed this wine, it is not for everyone. Many people I know do not enjoy the “green” characteristics here and find them off-putting.
I personally think that it adds a sense of depth and freshness, which is quite enjoyable.