Back when I was in college, the go to wine for my friends and I was from Chile because we got the most bang for the buck, and the wines were enjoyable with or without food.
Years later, this is still true: wines from Chile continue to perform well for the price.
And there’s a wine for every budget as well as these three from Concha y Toro show.
With the Thursday before Labor Day designated at Cabernet Day, we decided to put together a simple mid-week menu to show case three Cabernet Sauvignon from Chile’s Concha y Toro, the largest producer of wine in Latin America; they also own a number of American wineries including organic Fetzer, Adorada, and biodynamic and organic Bonterra.
Don Melchor de Santiago Concha y Toro and his wife, Emiliana Subercaseaux founded Concha y Toro Vineyard in 1883 with grape varieties he brought over from the Bordeaux region in France: Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon blanc, Semillon, Merlot, and Carmenère.
Simple cheese tray to go with red wines:
- humbolt fog
- aged gouda
- salt cured olives
- olive oil for dipping
Empanadas we purchased
> Meat filling with bacon, kale, cranberry,
> Vegetarian filling with kale and feta
The wines went well with both of the empanadas, but the meat one was the winning empanada with all three Cabernet. All of these wines were super dark and dense in color.
2011 – Casillero del Diablo – Cabernet Sauvignon – Chile – 13.5% alcohol $12
Distinct gold label — the devil “diablo.”
This is not a wine you’d usually lay down for a few years but when I was rummaging through the cellar looking for Cabernet, I cam across it, so we decided it would be fun to open and compare with the others. This wine aged really well!
NOSE: European style in the way that there is more barnyard, funk, earthen character plus beautiful cherry and vanilla oak notes with baking spices.
PALATE: To have this kind of complexity is a very nice surprise. The soil shines through in the wine. Nice sagey minty qualities on the nose and finish as the wine opens up.Pplum and cherry bright not stewed, rhubarb, pomegranate. The same that is on the nose, delivers in the mouth. The fruit is diminished slightly due to the age of the wine, but is still nicely present.
Compared to the more expensive wines we drank later, this is a bit thinner; the nose however is pretty impressive knowing that it has been cellared for so long. On the palate it is thinner, it is not transformative, but it has nice complexity.
PAIRING: Went great with the humbolt fog, went alright with the gouda, but not as great as with the humble fog. The grassy local olive oil brought saline and sulphur on the finish. Is viscous and makes the mouth water.
You might not consciously buy this wine to cellar it, but if you find it in your stash or a store that has been taking good care of it, on sale, this is going to be a gem of a find.
2014 – Marques Casa Concha – Cabernet Sauvignon – S.O. Maipo – Chile 14% alcohol $35
Copper on the label — the queen.
COLOR: The wine is not super clear, leading us to believe that it is unfined and unfiltered. Dense and dark in color.
NOSE: Pungent with bright young fruit and a crazy vegetal note. Not at all the baking spice and mocha or toffee that you associate with California Cabs. If you like French Bordeaux wine, you will love the value of this wine.
PALATE: Fresh cherries and Earth, cherries and oak, cherries and rhubarb and a bit of vegetal to the degree of jalapeño peppers not bell pepper. there are tannins, but they are delicate and not overwhelming mellowing to salinity and sulphur which brings forth the salivation in the mouth, which makes you long for more. This wine also has earthy qualities, and on the palate is lovely and viscous. There is a lot more fruit due to the age, but not at all like cherry cough syrup
PAIRING: This wine also went quite well with the humbolt fog, with the cheese it brings forth a beautiful salivation, the fog also was a wonderful palate cleanser for us throughout the evening. Great with the bacon empanada.
2012 – Don Melchor – Cabernet Sauvignon – Puente Alto Vineyard 14.5% alcohol $120
Classy subtle gold on the label – the king
93% cab sauv and 7% cab franc
This award winning wine often places in Wine Spectator’s Top 100 and achieves scores in the 90s; the 2010 was in the 2014 top 10. The grapes come from the 313 acre Puente Alto vineyard planted on rocky soils at the foot of the Andes mountains on the Maipo river’s oldest alluvial terraces. Around 10k cases are usually made.
Everything about this wine is beautiful. If Cabernet Sauvignon is your “thing” then check this one out. While not inexpensive, the wine delivers.
This is not a big oaky in your face kind of cab. It is more subtle and elegant: The difference between someone who works in the gym too much and is big and bulky as opposed to someone who works out regularly to have an amazing tone and definition to their body.
The most decadent of the three wines we tasted, there is more fruit even though it is a 2012. Very plush and smooth much bolder and bigger, It is much more complex with beautiful minerality that’s noticeable immediately. Sulphur and minerals, sulphur and sage. On the finish dark stone fruit. This wine marries all of the flavors in the palate in a very lovely way.
Simply fantastic on the palate. like a dance party going on, everybody is getting along and having a fantastic time.
PAIRING: Loved this wine best of all with the fog cheese which brought forward a rich buttery caramel. It went well with the cheese and the cheese with the wine. Pair this with a juicy ribeye and a hunk of blue cheese.
ENRIQUE TIRADO, WINEMAKER: “For me, Don Melchor represents the constant search for the best expression of every vine in the vineyard in order to achieve the beauty of balance of the Puente Alto terroir in every vintage.”
In our opinion, he’s been successful!
Join the 9th Annual Global Celebration of #Cabernet on #CabernetDay 2018 on on Thursday, August 30.
Intended to give Cabernet lovers around the world a fun opportunity to express their passion for the grape, on #CabernetDay Cabernet lovers come together in person and online to discover and share everything about Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet-based blends.
There are so many to choose from! Here’s how to participate:
- Choose and open a favorite Cabernet — or a new one! Watch for specials to help you celebrate.
- Join the party online August 30. We’ll be talking about Cabernet and Cab blends all day.
- Remember to include the hashtag #CabernetDay and tag the winery.
- Check for contests from your favorite wineries and enter to win using the hashtag #CabernetDay and the host winery.
- Event Tags: #CabernetDay, Cab Sauv, Cabernet, Cabernet Day, Cabernet Sauvignon
Happy Cabernet Sauvignon Day! How will you be celebrating the occasion?