Carmenere is the national grape of Chile, but unlike tempranillo (Spain) and malbec (Argentina), you don't see much of it, even in Chile. This is too bad, because in the right hands, it makes top-flight wine.
Such as this one. I had my doubts before I tasted it, despite Vii Manent's reputation for producing top-notch quality, inexpensive wine. Carmenere can be that difficult to work with. But I should have trusted the winery, because this wine is not only amazingly well-made, but quite a value at $14. It's rich and dark, with more plummy and mocha flavors than the dark fruits of merlot or cabernet. Plus, the tannins -- that harshness in the back -- were so smooth that I almost missed them. It's a welcome respite from much of the too jammy, over the top New World red wine that I have to taste.
How much did I like it? I'd not only buy it, but I'd buy more than one bottle at a time.