Carménère is a medium-bodied red wine that grows almost only in Chile but originated in Bordeaux, France. The wine is adored for its sour cherry and tart raspberry flavours, along with light tannin and bittersweet finish. Carménère also has a herbaceous flavour that has a peppercorn quality to it, which makes it excellent with roasted meats that aren’t overly fatty.
Carménère and Food Pairing
Carménère has a higher acidity and low tannin base, which makes it excellent for casual food pairings. Hence you don’t want to pair it with anything grand and fatty, but it will go excellent with roast pork, chicken mole, turkey, beef brisket, lamb with mint, Carne Asada, or beef tacos.
Chicken Mole and Carménère
Carménère has a naturally higher acidity, so the wine is never lost next to foods with acidic sauces, such as Mole sauce. Mole sauce is slightly chocolatey and aromas of raspberry sauce & sour cherry of the wine blend well with this chocolatey component. Furthermore, Carménère is also bittersweet, like cocoa powder, which further complements the chocolate flavours. Meanwhile, Carménère’s peppercorn-like flavour elevates the neutral roasted chicken flavour.
Carne Asada and Carménère
Carne Asada is Marinated flank steak which is then grilled to perfection. This tender, lean meat is full of authentic Mexican flavor, such as lime, garlic, cilantro, and jalapeno which Carménère loves. As the marinade is so acidic, Carménère has no issues holding up to it. Meanwhile the fruity flavours of the wine offer a refreshing level of enjoyment against the lean meaty flavours of the flank steak.
Beef Brisket and Carménère
Beef Brisket is a meaty dish, but it’s also tender, and thus requires a wine that is mid-bodied or acidic, which Carménère fits perfectly. The acidity in this wine cuts through the juicy flavours of Beef Brisket, while the herbaceous pepper-corn flavours embellish the outer crust of Beef Brisket.
Roast Pork and Carménère
We love how the green peppercorn notes of Carménère bring out the best in Roast Pork. The fruity raspberry and sour cherry flavours of the wine have just enough restraint so on the finish you taste both the pork and the wine.
Lamb with Mint and Carménère
The herbaceous flavours of Carménère are the perfect foil to the gamey flavours of Lamb that not everyone appreciates. Meanwhile the bittersweet component of the wine complements the mint flavours, similar to the way that chocolate and mint go so well together.
Carménère is not an expensive wine, and it’s meant for pairing with common and everyday food, so be certain to experiment with it. One thing to be aware of is that if the growing year was not particularly great, the vintage might have a bitter kale-like note. Hence, we recommend reading a review of the wine before purchasing. Another buying note is that you typically don’t want a Carménère that is 100% single grape. Instead, seek out bottles that have 10%-15% of another grape blended in (typically Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, or Petite Verdot) for a fuller taste. These slightly blended vintages always outperform single varietal Carménère.