All eight wines selected are carmenères. I have taken the liberty a) of opening one bottle early and b) of opening the one that we happen to sell in our liquor aisle. It is Santa Rita Medalla Real, single estate, 2008, from the Colchagua Valley.
The reason I have small experience of carmenère is because I avoided them after finding I disliked the first few I tasted while working at Ye Olde Wine Shoppe. Glasses of carmenère at the time struck me as terribly harsh. My Esteemed Colleague then, with his thirty-five years of experience in the business, used to amaze me when he sold the wine to other newbies by comparing it helpfully to "easy-drinking, fruity reds" they might already enjoy. Like Beaujolais. I thought he was mad. Easy-drinking? "Gulpable" -- carmenère, this tough and iron-hard thing? And as far as I was concerned that went for Beaujolais, too.
What a difference four years makes. Suddenly I find the wine to be easy-drinking, fruity, a little sweetly spicy and altogether pleasant. Gulpable. (Is it also time to rethink Beaujolais?) I look forward to trying the next seven.
Retail, about $15.