Brian Demay’s Wine Wednesday: Carne Humana

Continuing my Hallowine series, it’s time to talk about one of my favorite red blends: Carne Humana, an odd name for a wine, because it means literally “human flesh,” but it’s a perfect wine to get people talking if you bring it to a Halloween party.

I am happy to report, there are no meat notes of any kind in this blend. This is truly a delicious wine, and highly rated, from a ranch which actually pre-dates Napa Valley as an AVA! It was 1841 when Edward Bale was granted territory in California between St. Helena and Calistoga. A bit of an eccentric, he named his land Rancho Carne Humana, a name which, as the bottle says, remains a Napa mystery.

The grapes for this wine are all sourced from the Carne Humana estate, blended and fermented together. This is unique because most winemakers choose to ferment their grapes first, and then blend them. By putting all the juice together at once, and fermenting it, you get some interesting flavors. In this case those flavors include sweet tobacco, cherry, black licorice, blackberry and dried cranberry, with a lingering, toasty finish. There is also a bright acidity to this wine that stands out, because most big red blends from Napa are the opposite of acidic. This wine has bite, and I like that.

I don’t know exactly what is in this proprietary blend, but if I had to guess I’d say it’s Petite Sirah, Zinfandel, and possibly smaller amounts of Cabernet and Petit Verdot. This is a BIG wine with close to 15% alcohol, and at around $25 per bottle is more than I like to spend regularly, but whether it’s a wine to bring to a Halloween party to share with friends, or one to enjoy at home by the fire with someone special, you won’t regret trying this wine at least once.

On my five cork scale based on taste and value, I give the Carne Humana red blend 3.8 corks. It’s a highly-rated, delicious wine with history and pedigree, but the price is a little high, so look for it on sale and stock up when you can!

If you’d like to try interesting wines like this, please join me at our next private wine party at Matt the Miller’s Tavern! I host a wine dinner there every month, and we feature several interesting wines, each paired with a delicious course. There are always cool prizes to win, too, so listen Wednesday at 4:15 to win your spot on the guest list, or click here for a chance to win!

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