Even casual wine consumers could probably answer the question, “What are the primary red grapes grown in Chile?” with, “Oh, sure, cabernet sauvignon and that other ‘C’ grape, ‘car –‘ something.” Correct, and that would be “carmenere.” However, one of the gratifying matters in grape-growing and wine-making is the penchant of farmers and producers to push outside the boundaries of perceived limitations to plant unexpected grapes. An example is the Chilcas Single Vineyard Cinsault 2014, from Chile’s Valle del Itata. The region, originally planted to vines by the Spanish in the early 1500s, lies 500 kilometers south of Santiago, close to the Pacific Ocean, and is influenced by the mild warmth of the Humboldt Current. While Itata fell from favor through decades of churning out bulk wines, since the 1980s, producers have searched for precise variations in terroir and for old vineyards in order to make fine or at least interesting wines. The Chilcas Single Vineyard Cinsault 2014 was made from 55-year-old, dry-farmed vines and aged a brief four months in seasoned — much-used —
French oak barrels. The color — whoa! — is a dense, opaque ruby-black that shades to a transparent magenta rim; aromas of black cherries and plums are infused with notes of blueberry and pomegranate, coffee and tobacco and, after a few moments, elements of iodine and graphite. Lip-smacking acidity makes a definite impression on the palate, as does a lithe supple texture that flows in a rustic emanation of smoky, well-spiced plums, along with the accents of plum skin and cherry stem. Winemaker was Carlos Gatica. Not for the faint-of-heart, this robust, rustic and distinctive wine deserves a pairing with braised beef or veal shanks or pork chops marinated in cumin and smoked paprika. 14 percent alcohol. Very Good+. About $19.

Imported by Old Bridge Cellars, Napa, Calif. A sample for review.