Almost immediately after tasting the Casillero del Diablo Cabernet Sauvignon, Wine Spectator reviewed their Carmenere (naming it "Wine of the Week") and a fellow blogger reviewed their Malbec. With these inspirations I happened upon a bottle of the Carmenere while vacationing - for the lofty sum of C$12.45. At that price it was time to try my first Carmenere!
The 2005 Casillero del Diablo Carmenere was deep purple in colour. The nose was dominated by earthy/woodsy aromas, while underneath there were scents of pencil shavings, musk, cinnamon, tea, petrol (like a Riesling) and fresh cherries. Very different. On the palate it tasted like leather and bing cherries - dry, medium- to full-bodied, with firm tannins. It was crisp, reasonably balanced, with good acidity and persistency.
Very rustic and powerful, I enjoyed this wine, but I would be careful on who you serve this wine to - this will probably not go over well with casual wine drinkers. It may benefit from a year or two in the cellar, but it is ready now. A wine for stuffing in your backpack and pondering over that campfire with a wild boar roasting on a spit. Score 15.5/20.
PS - While interesting, the Cabernet Sauvignon is probably the better choice, but a neat way to try Carmenere for the first time.