All £5 wines fall into one of two categories. Category A – by far the biggest category – rubbish – will make you wish you’d paid a bit more. Category B – OK – might still make you wish you’d paid a bit more. This is the perceived wisdom anyway.
I went along with that ‘wisdom’ until the other day, until I tried Estevez’s Cabernet Carmenère Syrah 2013. Unlike most other wine countries, where Cabernet Sauvignon tends to be used largely for the premium and super premium markets, Chile still produces lots of decent but readily affordable wine from this eternally popular variety. But I didn’t think they could still do it for £5, and that’s where I was wrong.
The moment the nose approaches the glass, the Cabernet steps straight up to the plate to delight the drinker with its trademark cassis aroma. Unlike the overwhelming majority of very generic ‘winey’ or ‘vinous’ smelling £5 wines, there is only one variety this one could be made of. If you know Cabernet, you’d recognise it here while blindfolded, stood on your head, juggling a pair of glasses and the bottle.
The pleasure doesn’t stop there though. The cherries (actually I’d say ‘kirsch’) and plums that the label mentions are also easy to spot. The plums probably coming from the Carmenère of course. And the texture and structure are delightful too, a charming and seductive blend of the angular and the smooth.
If there was one disappointment, it was that I thought the Syrah had got lost. I found myself wondering whether the wine could have been even better for more Cabernet or more Carmenère in the Syrah’s place. That is until the final glass (third night after opening), when I’m sure I started to get little hints of black olive and bacon fat. And just to top it all off, the Cabernet started offering up a touch of mint. Top marks for complexity!
Blindfolded, and even without other silly tasks to perform while tasting, I’d have guessed the price of this wine to be at least £10. So if it sounds like your sort of thing, get to Aldi before they see this article.