The best food pairings for Carmenère
You may not be familiar with Carmenère but it's a delicious red at this chilly time of year.
It has quite a bit in common with Cabernet Franc from which is apparently descended* though tends to be richer and more plummy like Merlot with which it was originally confused in Chile.
Its green, slightly herbaceous character (not always in evidence in more expensive wines) makes it a surprisingly good match for fish and dishes flavoured with herbs. These would be my top pairings
* Lamb, especially with herbs - salsa verde for example or herb-crusted rack of lamb. I once had a Peruvian dish of lamb with coriander which was sensational with Carmenère. Any lamb curry with herbs would also work well or try middle-eastern style meatballs or minced lamb kebabs with mint and coriander
* Bacon - there’s a smoky edge to Carmenère that works well with dishes that include smoked bacon (think spinach, bacon and blue cheese salad) or with a hearty smoked bacon chop or rib
* Empanadas, especially with green olives
* Dark leafy greens such as kale, chard, savoy cabbage or spring greens
* Roasted or grilled Mediterranean vegetables such as peppers (bell peppers), courgettes (zucchini) and aubergines (eggplant). Chicken or pork cooked with peppers
* Sides of asparagus or green beans
* Chillies - fresh chillies in particular. Try Carmenère with Mexican and, I’m told, Thai food
* Seared tuna - in fact seared seafood generally works.
*There’s a fascinating entry on Carmenère in Jancis Robinson’s Wine Grapes
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