Wine: Concha y Toro Casillero del Diablo Carmenere
Region: Central Valley, Chile
Availability: All wine retailers
In the glass: Casillero del Diablo Carmenere is a dense blackish-red color with an opaque core going out into a fine violet-crimson to slightly pinkish rim definition with medium-high viscosity.
On the nose: There are oodles of interesting notes of crushed earthy black fruits with underlying spice elements, peppery crushed blackberries, black truffle, tobacco leaf, phenolic compounds, licorice root, herbs, tar and light wood components.
On the palate: This wine has an immediate pleasant sweetish peppery mouth-feel with concentrated wild cherries, spice-laced huckleberry sauce and spicy blackberries, then a massive phenol-laden structure, earthy minerals and slight oak references. The midpalate is highly impacted by the liqueurlike cherry and elderberry fruit with notes of sloe fruit, herbs and earthy minerals and then a solid finish sets in lasting for a full 20 seconds or more with yet more licorice root, star anise and earthy rustic wood.
Odds and ends: Last month I was visiting Chile, and Concha y Toro really stands out as one of the oldest and greatest wineries in that part of the world. It is a huge operation and always one of the biggest imported wine companies into the United States. It obviously produces a huge number of wines, but one of the great values is the line called Casillero del Diablo, or “The Devil’s Cellar,” probably because the wines are damn good.
This particular wine is made from one of the greatest successes in varietal transplantation ever, when the French brought over their failing carmenere from Bordeaux and planted it in Chile, where it proved amazingly successful and has now been named the national grape of Chile. I would be remiss not to mention the Marques de Casa Concha Cabernet also made there and it is a tremendous wine to look out for after you’ve tried this one. Try this Casillero del Diablo with a nice pepper-rubbed steak on the grill. Drink it now through 2017.
Gil Lempert-Schwarz’s wine column appears Wednesdays. Write him at P.O. Box 50749, Henderson, NV 89106-0749, or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.