The most widely available wine in the UK? It must be at least a contender, and probably one of the best selling too.
My first encounter with it was over ten years ago, and its moreishness secured it a place in my mental list of ‘old favourites’. And although this makes me a victim of marketing, I will admit to enjoying the ‘Casillero del Diablo’ story. Rather than explaining here, I’ll just say hop over to Concha y Toro’s website if you’re interested.
After a lengthy break since my last bottle, the IWC’s award of a Silver medal to the 2013 vintage of their Cabernet Sauvignon prompted the latest rendez-vous. Despite that award, it’s immediately clear that this is a ‘commercial’, ‘crowd-pleasing’ style of wine. But what else would it be? With this sort of mass production, we can’t expect ’boutique’ originality.
The ripeness has shown as a little excess alcohol on the nose, but also as a decent punnet of dark cherries. Cabernet Sauvignon’s trademark tasting note, cassis, does make an appearance, but it’s muted and has less precision than in more expensive examples. What this wine does have is a satisfying, generous mouthfeel – it’s a simple, but hearty and comforting quaff.
So while it’s easy to criticise, this is still a straightforward, ‘does-what-it-says-on-the-bottle’ red. That means you’re getting fair value at the normal retail price of £8, and good value if you pluck it while it’s discounted.