Which traditional Bordeaux variety has become more synonymous with Chile than with its ancestral home?

A. Malbec

B. Carmenère

C. Cabernet Franc

D. Petit Verdot


Today considered Chile’s signature grape, carmenère was brought to Chile from Bordeaux in the late 19th century. Chilean landowners and mining barons had begun to showcase their wealth by building wine estates modeled after the grand châteaux of Bordeaux. The Chileans planted vineyards with imported French grapes, most notably cabernet sauvignon, merlot, and carmenère. Indigenous to Bordeaux, carmenère ripens late in the year—so much so that, in Bordeaux it barely ever achieved ripeness, producing wines that tasted more like rhubarb juice than a grand vin. After the phylloxera epidemic in France, it was almost never replanted. But in Chile carmenère thrived in the long, warm growing season.

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