There are just some grapes that have a story. Carménère is one of those grapes. Originally one of the six Bordeaux varieties, Carménère was once thought to be extinct, only to be rediscovered in Chile. The grapes were imported from France into Chile, and were often confused with Merlot. Most of the Carménère in France was wiped out during the Phylloxera plague. You will most often still find Carménère from Chile, although it is produced in other places.
The bottle that I'm drinking is a 2006 Santa Alicia Carménère that I bought on sale at World Market. Generally this wine goes for somewhere around $8-$10 a bottle. The alcohol content on this wine is listed as 14%.
When I first pour this into the glass, I get a little bit of a funky smell, possibly even a tad on the poopy side. As it airs out a bit the funkiness wears off a bit, and I get more of a cedar smell, cherries, some chocolate, and a little bit of leather. I'm also getting just a touch of boysenberry wafting from the glass. The first sip hits me with a little bit of a bitter raisin flavor, and some tobacco and nuts. This wine has some nice smooth tannins.
The Santa Alicia Carménère is actually a fairly complex wine for $8. It's a little shy at first, but after some decanting and swirling, it gives you some really interesting aromas and flavors. I really enjoy the tobacco and leather components in this wine. I wouldn't say that there is anything amazing about this wine, but it is definitely worth a try, especially if you can find it for eight bucks. If I was going to be more exact with my ratings, I would probably actually put this one as a 3.5. I think this is somewhere on the stronger end of the "Worth a Try" rating.