At one time, Carmenere, one of the most ancient varietals in Bordeaux, was prized for both its depth of color and, in ripe years, for its flavor that can range from herbal to gamey, as well as the complexity and interest that it can add to blends. However, Carmenere, for a number of reasons, has fallen out of favor in France. But not so in South America. 

Carmenere was imported to South America in the 1850s and today has become a flagship Chilean wine where it is used as a pure varietal as well as a blend in red wines. When grown in warm climates where it can fully ripen, it tastes of blackberry, plum and tobacco and has soft tannins. Cool climate or less-ripe Carmenere may exhibit green pepper and vegetal aromas and tastes. 

Carmenere pairs well with savory, low-acid dishes such as beef, lamb, chicken and turkey; roasted or grilled veal or pork; chili, hamburgers, meatloaf, mushrooms, cheese-based pastas and risotto. 

Cheeses that go well with Carmenere include Brie and Camembert (without rind), mild Cheddar, Emmental, Gouda (including smoked), Gorgonzola, Manchego, Monterey Jack, Pepper Jack, Pecorino Romano and Provolone.