Weekend Wine: A Lovely Chilean Red Wine for the Holidays

Notes of blackberry and plum make it a treat served with festive food

Photo Courtesy of the Winery

Reserva Casillero del Diablo is a line of a dozen wines by the world-class winery Concha y Toro. Despite the name, it has one of their lowest prices of any of their export wines. Nonetheless, the wine on review is a bottle of wine you can proudly serve anywhere.

My choice is their Carménère ($9-$10). It is made from a distinctive red grape from Chile, though it originally came from France where it was one of the six original grapes allowed in Bordeaux wines. When the phylloxera plague hit France in 1867, virtually all of the Carménère vines were killed. Chile had two oceans and the Andes mountains to protect them from phylloxera, so they kept growing it, mistakenly thinking it was Merlot. Once the Chileans discovered what they had, they changed the name back to the proper Carménère in the late 1990’s. The Chilean wineries then started to produce the wine as a distinct varietal.

The first several years of Carménère included dusty wines with little to recommend them. Concha y Toro has figured out how to produce a luscious and fruity version of the wine and sell it at a very fair price. As for the taste, it is much like blackberries and ripe plums. Try it with thick grilled pork chops or rack of lamb or like us, with a grilled bavette. This is a wonderful bargain for the holidays and very widely available.

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Casillero del Diablo, Concha y Toro, bargain wines, Carménère, Chile


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