I recently did a post on a pairing of Carmenere wine with curry, a seemingly odd combination that worked much better than expected. I highlighted which of the eight bottles went over the best from a collection of what Chile is trying to make a household name in wine.

I didn’t truly understand how new this varietal was though until I read this history of it on The Terroirist blog (love that name). The grape was thought to be wiped out when it disappeared from disease in France and Chile was labeling it Merlot until 1998. So basically this wine has only existed in its correctly diagnosed form for 13 years.

On The Day, this writer notes that a red wine can taste pretty ho-hum and have a smell that’s not exactly enticing—until you pair it with the right food. Then a magical transformation occurs, which is what happened with many of these Chilean wines.

I was happy to see somebody picking the same favorite out of the eight bottles as my party did. That was the group eating and drinking with blogger Mellissa at A Fit & Spicy Life. Since I didn’t have the foresight to photograph all the bottles before diving in with a corkscrew, that’s her photo at the top.

You can see more reviews of the Carmenere wines I tasted at The Good Wine Guru and the wine column at the Augusta Chronicle.

Nothing I’m reading from others makes me think this wine is going to suddenly become staggeringly popular and take off the way Argentina’s Malbec has, but Wines of Chile did convince a batch of us writers that Carmenere pairs well with spicy food. Remember that next time you’re ordering cuisine with a kick.

Get Chilean wine at the source: see our section on Luxury Travel in Chile.