Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The Devil's Cellar

By Rob Bralow, Wine Post Editor

I know you have seen this bottle before. Concha y Toro is the largest producer in Chile, and was one of the very first to establish themselves in the US market in the 1950's. The Casillero del Diablo brand was created in 1953 and is now a staple of thousands of wine shops across the world. With twelve varietally labeled wines made under this brand, the company sells over one and a half million cases worldwide annually. And that does not take into account the other brands that Concha y Toro has.

Yes, this is a big box winery. They make wine by the millions of cases each year. What I find to be most impressive is how good the wine is. Even after making millions of cases, the $10 tastes like $20 wine and the $25 wine tastes like $40 wine. It's value, up the ladder.

Now do not take that to mean that each of these wines is a life-changing experience, waiting to be uncorked. Concha y Toro has those, but it is unlikely that samples of those wines will come through my door. I am talking about the Don Melchor (now in it's 20th year of production), Carmin de Peumo, and Amelia, all three of which are "Icon" wines. No, these other wines from Concha y Toro are Tuesday night wines; easy to pick up at the store on your way home and even easier to consume.

I received the following wines as samples and enjoyed each one of them.

2008 Casillero del Diablo Carmenere - Dark and smooth in color with some rich red fruit aromas. There is a very characteristic herbal flavor on the taste, but surrounded by dark cherry and blackberries.

2008 Casillero del Diablo Merlot - A round and fleshy wine, with sweet plum, cherry and cinnamon. Nicely balanced with enough structure to make you want another sip.

2008 Casillero del Diablo Cabernet Sauvignon - An amazing value of a Cabernet. Such brilliant cassis and blackberry with smooth tannins and pretty balance. Too easy to drink the bottle and go looking for another.

I promise you that you will find these wines, most likely for $10 give or take a dollar.

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