[Image: Bunch of Grapes]
Today's Wine Tasting Note

© Copyright 1998 by Robin Garr. All rights reserved.

The 1995 edition of this Chilean Merlot got such high ratings that it blew off the shelves quickly all over the world and was unavailable even here in Louisville, home of the U.S. importer ... I never got so much as a taste of it. Now the 1996 is in, so I grabbed one quickly, just in case.

Carmen 1996 Rapel Valley (Chile) Reserve Merlot ($10.79)
Inky dark garnet. Blackberry and oaky vanilla in a ripe, forward scent. Full, juicy black-fruit flavor with a good acidic structure, clean and consistent in a medium finish. It's a nice Merlot, well-balanced and fruity, but it's nothing to write home about. It's either a big step down from the much-ballyhooed '95 or else the buzz about the previous vintage was hype.

FOOD MATCH: Went well with a lamb and broccoli stir-fry.

All my wine-tasting reports are consumer-oriented. In order to maintain objectivity and avoid conflicts of interest, I purchase all the wines I rate at my own expense in retail stores.

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