Nov 10, 2023Eden Hargreaves

What is Phylloxera?

Tiny parasitic insect (called Phylloxera feed on roots and leaves, and Phylloxeraisis the name given to this disease that destroys the roots of the grapevine. The origins of this disease were from the Americas, but as this disease was never seen in European countries before, there was no resistance to it, so it was fatal when it arrived. This outbreak is also commonly known as the Great French Wine Blight.

A case of mistaken identity

Carmenère vines were not replanted in France, partly due to it being hard to grow and of course susceptible to pests. It wasn’t until 1994 that it reappeared again, after ampellographer professor Jean-Michel Boursiquot discovered it. Unknown to them, the Chilean winemakers that brought cuttings from France to South America thinking that it was Merlot may have unknowingly saved this varietal! The leaves of Merlot and Carmenère are very alike, so at first glance, there was no question about the vines being Merlot unless you really know your vines! The taste can also be compared very closely as well because Carmenère, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon all share Cabernet Franc as a parent grape variety. Read an exclusive interview about ‘The man who ‘discovered’ Carmenère’ by Decanter China here.

Thriving in Chile

Carmenère has now become Chile’s signature grape. It needs a lot of sunshine as it has a late ripening, so this climate ensures it reaches its full potential. This month, we were proud to add a Chilean wine producer that creates world-class wines, and their Carmenère Superior is already a best seller. Familia Correa Lisoni also produce a Family Reserve range if you want to splash out on a special bottle of wine. Their Carmenere Family Reserve has notes of Herbaceous, intense eucalyptus and toasted black pepper, product of French wood for almost 16 months.

Pair it with Turkey

November 24th also marks Thanksgiving in America, where lots of Turkey is enjoyed, these red's would be a beautiful pairing with a Turkey dinner. 

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