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Sunday, May 1, 2011

Bargain Wine of the Week: Emiliana Eco Balance Carmenere 2009

We've often said that we've never had a bad wine from the Colchagua Valley of Chile. It might be luck, but we think this little valley that produces relatively little wine is always a winner for our Eat Well, Eat Cheap bargain-wine palates.

And we've said once or twice that the long-forgotten, historically significant, little known Carmenere grape produces great wine that others have called "Cabernet Sauvignon in silk pajamas." Sounds good, right?

We hit the jackpot the other day when one of our regular wine eLetters offered Emiliana Vineyard's Eco Balance Carmenere 2009 for $8.99. Two extra bonuses: the price and the fact that if not totally organic, the grapes are farmed with environmentally friendly, integrated-vineyard management practices.

When Ruth served her bridge-playing neighbors this wine the other night, they raved. It's a pretty tight little wine for a $9 bottle. Strawberry smells waft out of the glass. Smokey flavors from the oak barrels land on the tongue, and the velvety tannins of the Carmenere grapes cut the dry edge that gets in the way when you're drinking wine with light hors d'oeuvres.

If you've never tried a Carmenere from Chile, especially one from the Colchagua Valley, pick one up at your wine store. You might discover a new favorite.

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