Let me say, first off, that the label for the Hacienda Altavina wines at Fresh & Easy has got to go. A dour Abuelita looking at you disapprovingly through a keyhole is in no way conducive to drinking wine. On the other hand, it may drive some to drink too much. Not having had a dour Abuelita for some time, I can't honestly say.
Alright, on this wine. Carménère is to Chile as Malbec is to Argentina: a "national" grape that was cast off in France's Bordeaux region only to be rediscovered in the New World, to generally delicious results. For some years now, it's been made into tremendous value wines.
The 2009 Altavina is a translucent purple in the glass and gives off nice earthy, savory aroma dominated by soft red fruit. The palate is soft and plummy, with some deeper notes of dark-roast coffee and savory olive. There's good fruit and good acidity here, making for a nice food wine (my experience with grilled steak and chimichurri bears this out).
All in all, this is a good, albeit modest red, one that offers some nice varietal characteristics. At ~$5, it's a wine whose quality outstrips its price by a fair bit. In other words, a Fresh & Easy success.
Total value: 12.5/15