Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Wine Snob: Chilean Red Wine Review

I have been warmly invited by Sulpicia III to review Casillero del Diablo Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 and Santa Helena Shiraz Reserve 2008. I have never written a wine review before and.I hope it is informative and interesting.
Wines and Chicken Piccata

The name "Casillero del Diablo" means "the Devil's Cellar". Concha y Toro, an enormous wine manufacturer based, makes this brand in the Central Valley region of Chile. Once upon a time, so the marketing campaign goes, the owner of Concha y Toro suspected his workers of thievery. He fostered a legend that the devil lurked in the dark depths of the cellar. The Casillero del Diablo brand is very popular and commonly sold in my neck of the woods, yet I never tried it before. Is the wine horribly bad or hella good? (I apologize for the atrocious puns.) I was quite happy with it. It has a medium body and a ruby red color. It smells of fruit, specifically blackberry. The taste is likewise berry fruit, but more cassis than blackberry. The tannins are very strong. It has a medium length finish. The tannins leftmy mouth very dry after swallowing.

I also bought the Santa Helena shiraz (syrah). This winery prides itself on the fact that it is constantly experimenting, trying new (and old) techniques, alternating between modern and traditional methods. I suspect this might result in larger than normal differences between vintages from this vineyard, though I may be wrong. I'll have to (reluctantly of course) try the 2009 and 2010 to check. It is also entirely sustainable. Itwas heavy and dark red. It had less tannins (making it medium-dry) than the first wine but it had a (typically syrah) short finish. It smelled and tasted strongly of berries.
The slightly lower amount of tannins, heavier body and richer flavor of the Syrah made me prefer it. However, if you like longer finishes, lighter bodies and less berry flavor, choose this Cabernet Sauvignon. I let both decant for an hour. They cost more or less the same price here (around €9) but if you're lucky they are slightly cheaper in CA.

I later tried both of them with Sulpicia's famous Chicken Piccata and they went together wonderfully. If Sulpicia is good enough to allow me to have some writing space again, I will return with some more Chilean reds or perhaps some notes on Chateauneuf-du-Pape (another current interest of mine).

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