Waaaaaay back on July 27th, Lenndevours proposed that, as with the now famous Is My Blog Burning? event, we get together and all do something the same day. Lenndevours's idea was not to cook a dish with a common theme, but to try a wine and write about it.
There have to be rules for these things, and the first WWWBW prescribed that the wine be a
cheap inexpensive one - under US$15, and that it be a Merlot from the New World, BUT not from the United States.
I am not a wine expert by any stretch of the imagination though I have sampled a good bottle or three thanks to oenophile friends (ahem, Meg). I took this opportunity to stretch my descriptinve capabilities and my wine drinking experience by sampling a Chilean wine.
But not just any Chilean wine would do, my friends. This $8.99 wine I chose would come from
World Market's House O' Wicker the Devil's Cassette Tape Player!
At least that's how I translate Casillero del Diablo by Concha y Toro. Of course, I once translated a dish on a Spanish menu as "owl with thistle", so I wouldn't trust my Spanish if I were you. I'm sure a true Spanish-speaker (ahem, Paul) will correct me.
The wine, which as I stated before, is Casillero del Diablo by Concha y Toro ("the conch shell and the lawnmower"), which comes from the Rapel Valley of Chile, near the Pacific Coast. Of course, pretty much all of Chile is near the Pacific Coast. I might as well say it's near Argentina.
The bottle sampled was a 2003, very young. My first impression when I sniffed the wine (sorry, "sampled its bouquet") was that there was a lot of alcohol in this sucker. I think that is the mark of an immature wine, and this one qualifies. The other notes were scents of cherry, apple, and even raspberry.
The color was a very rich ruby red, that shifted towards garnet when held to the light.
The flavor was very tart with lots of tannic apple and cherry, and for lack of a better name, "purple" flavor, like Concord grape juice. As you might expect for a young Chilean red under $9, it was rather wild, slightly harsh and immature, like a Beaujolais in Miami beach on a spree with her daddy's credit cards.
I'd pair this with spicy foods with substance, like a peppercorned steak or fajitas. It might go well with salty foods with a serious bass note to them (as in rich and low, not as in fishy) like a mushroom gravy or dark meat turkey or liver.
I found tasting notes for the wine and I have to wonder if they drank the same thing I did. One site claims Atttractive scents of black plums and a delicately herbal aroma make this a most attractive wine. The fruity flavour is mout filling and smooth with hints of chocolate and spice. Great with bistro food and risotto.
Yeah. First, what's a "mout"? I tried this wine, and there ain't no plum in there and this CERTAINLY isn't a wine I'd pair with a delicate risotto. Maybe a hearty salty rice dish, but that's not what I think of when I think of a nice risotto. Maybe with all-beef hot dogs (David Berg, of course).
The Wine Spectator (scroll down) gives it an 86 and says "Nice red and dark berry fruit with toast and bramble hints, and a smooth, chocolaty finish. Open-knit, forward and tasty. Drink now. 120,000 cases made. (JM)"
Maybe this is why I'm not a wine critic. I just didn't taste the chocolate finish that both these notes mention. And what the heck does a bramble taste like? Does that help anyone imagine the taste of this bottle? I'm seriously curious.
I would have thought putting this away for a year would help it mellow out, but the Spectator critic says gulp it down now. Hmph. I don't think I'll go back to this wine again, though now I'm very curious about the chocolate I didn't taste. It is only $9...
You can learn all about the Cassillero del Diablo line (ahh, it means "Cellar of the Devil") at their sound-filled Flash-laden website from Hell (no pun intended)!