Illumina Carmenere 2019

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Illumina Carmenere 2019
Illumina Carmenere 2019

Carmenere is a varietal that shows great potential in Texas. It the spiciest wine we make, followed closely by Touriga, and then Cabernet Franc. Carmenere allows a wide-ranging array of wine styles depending on ripeness levels; essentially, the longer the fruit hangs on the vine (as in a late harvest scenario), the riper and softer the fruit becomes, which translates to the wine. Late harvest wines are relatively low in anti-oxidants, taste great almost as soon as they're made, require minimal bottle aging, and have a fruit-forward profile that is eternally popular across America.

California introduced late-harvest wines to the wine world 45 years ago, and the California model has been extensively embraced by Americans. While the late-harvest model works well with grapes like Cabernet Clone 7 (the predominant varietal used for this style), a significant number of other grape varieties and clones have a special "signature" for which they are known and prized (e.g., pyrazines, or pepper spice, and various floral compounds), but which reach a zenith in the middle of the harvest season and then begin to decline if the fruit remains on the vine longer. If a winemaker wants to capture these unique "signature" flavors and aromatics in a wine, they miss the optimal window to do so in a late-harvest scenario.  Carmenere is a great working example of this decision spectrum. If you want a spicier version of the varietal, you need to harvest these varietals mid-season, but if you want a fruit-juicier version, then you look to a late-season harvest. 

Whereas our 2018 Carmenere was a moderately late-season wine with notable fruitiness and ripe, soft tannins in a more West Coast style, it did not reveal much of the pepper spice that is so uniquely special to this varietal.  So for 2019, we are pleased to release a somewhat spicier version, harvested closer toward the mid-season.  This 2019 Carmenere is a great representation of the combined power of fruit and spice, exhibiting peppery spiciness alongside solid, fruit-forward berry flavors. 

This wine is a perfect complement to summertime foods off the grill and is 85% ready to drink now.  This means the 2019 vintage offers a pleasurable drinking experience now, but also the potential to improve modestly with another year or two in the bottle.  Drink now through 2024.

Other notes

Harvest rate: 2 tons per acre

DesignationGillespie County, Texas
Volume750 ml
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