Mon 11 Jan 2010
It has been as cold in the Mid-South the past week as it has been in 14 years, so a full-bodied heat-seeking wine was what we needed. With meatloaf one night, I opened a bottle of the Casillero del Diablo Carmenere 2008, a label from Chile’s venerable Concha y Toro. “Ka-ching,” went the wine-and-food-matching bell, and “Yum,” went our satisfaction meters.
The color is dark purple with a deep plum edge. The heady bouquet is loaded with black currants, plums, cedar, tobacco and lead pencil and a heaping portion of exotic spice. A blend of 85 percent carmenere — for decades in Chile thought to be merlot until DNA testing in the 1980s proved otherwise — 10 percent cabernet sauvignon and 5 percent syrah, the wine offers a dense, dusty texture packed with almost furry tannins wrapped around urgently spicy black fruit flavors fretted with potpourri, lavender and bitter chocolate. Among the grape’s characteristics is a sort of dark, tarry gravity, which this example possesses in spades. The wine is aged for eight months, 70 percent in American oak, 30 percent in stainless steel. Winemaker is Marcelo Papa. Drink this with hearty meat and pasta dishes or with grilled chops and steak. Very Good+ and a Great Bargain at about $12.
For whatever reason, the folks at Concha y Toro (or its American importers) do not employ the diacritical marking that ought to be present in the name of this grape — it should be carmenère –but I’ll follow their practice here.
Imported by Banfi Vintners, Old Brookville, N.Y. A sample bottle for review.
I apologize, My Readers, for not posting to BTYH since last Tuesday. It is not my habit, as you know, to neglect this blog, but I have been considerably under the weather since Christmas and am just beginning to feel a tad less puny. We’ll get back on track in a few days.