Malbec and Carmenère are “Expatriate Grapes” who have made big names for themselves in the New World, much more so than in their ancestral European birthplace! 70% of the world’s Malbec is now grown in Argentina, and 98% of Carmenère is grown in Chile. The original home for Malbec is Cahors in southwest France; a little bit is still grown in Bordeaux, which happens to be Carmenère’s original home. Chilean Carmenère was thought to be Merlot until 1994 when a French ampelographer realized that the “Merlot” vines ripened much more slowly than others in the same vineyard. Malbec simply crossed the Andes from Chile after cuttings were brought over from Bordeaux. But Argentina’s Malbec wines are very different than their French counterparts, more floral and smooth than the tannic, rustic reds from Cahors. Chilean Carmenère, rarely bottled solo in France, tends to be earthy, spicy, and peppery. Come appreciate these two South American star varietals for yourself!