This bottle of wine has been worth saving, since it arrived in September. The 2016 Reserva Casillero del Diablo Cabernet Sauvignon from Chile had Halloween written all over it, right?

A reliably tasty wine from Casillero del Diablo, this is something you can bank on as a great value. I don’t care what grape variety it is, these wines are always a best deal on any wine shelf. For only $10, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain… Like a “house wine” to fall in love with…

Excelsior Wines offers most of the wines being farmed in Chile.From their site:

Founded in 1883, Viña Concha y Toro is Latin America’s leading producer and occupies an outstanding position among the world’s most important wine companies, currently exporting to 135 countries worldwide. Under the name of Excelsior Wine Company, it exclusively distributes the Chilean wines of Concha y Toro as well as its Argentine property, Trivento, and the newly acquired Little Black Dress and Five Rivers lines of California wines. Expanding on a decades-long relationship, Banfi Vintners and Concha y Toro formed this sales and marketing venture for the US, revolutionizing the way brands are brought to the market.

Why this wine is called Casillero del Diablo

In the closing years of the 19th century Don Melchor de Concha y Toro discovered that his most treasured wines had been pilfered from the “casillero” (cellar) beneath his family home. To discourage further theft, the enterprising Don spread a rumor that his deepest, darkest cellars were haunted by the devil. Today, the original Concha y Toro family estate, complete with its Devil’s Cellar, is Chile’s leading tourist destination!

The 2016 Reserva Casillero del Diablo Cabernet Sauvignon is 100 percent Cabernet Sauvignon. The grapes are grown in Chile’s Central Valley vineyards, on hillside with benchland and river bench soils. After the juice was fermented in stainless steel tanks

  • 60 percent of the wine was aged in medium toast, American oak for eight months
  • 40 percent of it was aged in stainless steel for eight months

This Cabernet Sauvignon is a dark, ruby slippers red in color. It has aromas of rich plums, Bing cherries, and blackberries. The flavors are drippingly rich, and very satisfying. I loved the smooth finish, still tannins are bright and crisp, so it will age well. In ten years, I expect this wine to still be bright and fresh.

Get ready for fall and winter recipes

Rule number one, when cooking with wine: Only use wines in your cooking that you will also drink.  So, with fall and winter foods, I think “crock pot cooking;” a bit in the pot, the rest with dinner. Cooking with wine has acidic components that tenderize meats, as does slow cooking. Adding the wine you’ll be enjoying later makes for flavors that are seamlessly integrated.

So, who’s the winemaker for this great house wine?

Winemaker Marcelo Papa

Being polar opposites, it’s long been thought that quality and quantity are mutually exclusive of each other. Marcello Papa has found an internal ingredient in his own being, which seamlessly unites the two concepts of qualtiy and quantity into harmony through his endeavors. Given high-end technologies, he’s taken each part of the process, and united them, for the good of making solidly crafted, affordable wines. This thinking has made Concha y Toro’s wines a world leader. Hands on equipment in the right places still keeps the wines in a delicate balance.

Marcello has been with Concha y Toro since 1998… Coming onto 20 years of being in one place has great advantages, including high end consistency of whatever’s being made. In this case, it’s wine and the balance is perfectly delivered.

What I’ve also learned through the years of tasting their wines, the wines coming from Concha y Toro are delivered by a team of winemakers who all live well-balanced lives. From his bio:

As with a number of Chile’s top winemakers, Papa earned a degree in agriculture and a post-graduate degree in enology from the highly regarded Catholic University in Santiago. He was subsequently recruited by Kendall–Jackson, where he spent the next five years before joining Concha y Toro in 1998. In 1999, a year after working on his first vintage of Casillero del Diablo wines, Papa was given the additional assignment of working on Concha y Toro’s prestigious Marques de Casa Concha wines, and named chief winemaker of Concha y Toro’s Puente Alto cellar. Under his direction, Marques de Casa Concha wines have earned some of the most vaunted accolades in Chilean winemaking.

In 2005, Papa captured Chile’s highest honor, when the Chilean Wine Guide distinguished him as its “Winemaker of the Year.” It was a remarkable tribute to his diligent work on the Casillero del Diablo range, referencing Papa’s capacity to “create exceptional wines that are widely available in the marketplace, yet achieve extraordinary levels of quality in spite of large production levels.”

This 2016 Reserva Casillero del Diablo Cabernet Sauvignon from Chile is imported from Winesellers, LTD.