INAMA Carmenere Riserva “Oratorio di San Lorenzo” 2015

(Colli Berici, Veneto, Italy) $55

At first, I was sure it was a typo. Carmenere from a region west of Venice, Italy? Carmenere is forever associated in my mind as one of the great red grapes of Chile. But here was a northern Italian carmenere, and it was (and is) stunning. Inama’s carmenere reminds me of a delicious Bordeaux red, but with lots more spice and minerality. The wine is deep, savory, and richly layered with whooshes of white pepper, green tobacco, and cassis. I poured it into a decanter to open it up and just stood by as it exploded into a fireworks display of flavor. Talk about a fun wine to serve blind (with a T-bone steak) to your favorite wine lover. Turns out, a small amount of carmenere has actually been planted in the Veneto’s Colli Berici hills since the mid 19th century. For its part Inama (which makes the only carmenere riserva) is a family owned winery that specializes in carmenere plus some of the best top-class Soaves in Italy. (14.5% abv)

95 points KM

Available at Saratoga Wine Exchange

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