2005 Concha y Toro Casillero del Diablo Carmenere

2008 Concha y Toro Casillero del Diablo CarmenerePrice: $6.99 @ Trader Joe’s imported by Excelsior Wine & Spirits

What They Said:

Per wine.com: “Looking for an amazing value, delicious and new wine? This wine was what Bordeaux was originally primarily made from, now its found almost exclusively in Chile. This is a delicious example of this incredible variety, which combines the best of Cabernet and Merlot – Concha y Toro makes the best examples of this unique variety in the world.

Dark and deep red. Attractive aromas of dark plums, blackcurrant and chocolate, with hints of coffee and toasted American oak. Notes of dark plums and spice, with a generous touch of toasted American oak and a soft and well structured mouthfilling texture.

Enjoy with fresh light dishes based on meat and vegetables. Also a good accompaniment to ripe cheese.”

What I Think:

Given that I recently learned that I don’t like all Carmenere I have been anxious to get back to this old favorite. So when the doorbell rang last night and the pizza had arrived it was the obvious choice. I was as pleased as ever. The fruit flavors seemed even bolder than I had remembered. Other than that I have nothing to add beyond what I have said here in the past. I might need to grab a case of this one to put in reserve because I sure will be said when the day comes that TJ’s has no more…

Rating: Bulk Buy

2005 Calina Carmenere Reserva

Price: $6.99 @ The Wine Club imported by Sovereign Wine Imports

What They Said:

Per The Wine Club monthly newsletter, “Perhaps Waterloo was not the only catastrophe that France had to suffer. There are some who say that the loss of Carmenere, due to the first phylloxera epidemic in Bordeaux, changed the make-up of those wines in a negative way. That may be true for if they had replanted Carmenere perhaps they could have made a wine of this caliber. Chile is a string of agricultural valleys each with unique soils and micro climates. The Maule Valley where this wine hails is quickly becoming the go-to area for big, opulent red wines. This one is no exception. Loaded with blackberry, and cassis flavors it has persistent flavors of coca, cedar, and walnuts. A very approachable palate not unlike Merlot, which it has often been mistaken for. A real treat and clearly a go-to wine for the more relaxed afternoons ahead”. – David Goodwin, San Francisco

What I Think:

I grabbed this bottle the same evening I had a disappointing experience with the Chianti. Given my only experience with Carmenere, my expectations were certainly high. For a while, I had been meaning to invest in a more expensive bottle to see how good it can get. In the meantime I grabbed this one a week or so back at the wine club and opened it expecting good things.

Survey says…No. Not that this was a bad wine. It had to deal with my expectations which it had no interest in. I was expecting dark, pure fruit flavors but there was nary a note of this in the bouquet. On the nose you got heavy doses of toasted oak with a hint of cinnamon. My initial impression on the palate was that of vegetal flavors I couldn’t pinpoint them and wasn’t even so sure I wanted to try. I gave up on this wine pretty quickly wondering me what convinced me to buy it. It was Carmenere but I think it had a flashy in store write-up as well, if I make it back I’ll have to check. Given the lackluster effort I thought maybe it could be a vintage issue but nope; same as the Casillero del Diablo. The good news is that at least now I know that I don’t like all Carmenere.

Rating: Skip It

2005 Concha y Toro Casillero del Diablo Carmenere

2008 Concha y Toro Casillero del Diablo CarmenerePrice: $6.99 @ Trader Joe’s imported by Excelsior Wine & Spirits

What They Said:

Per wine.com: “Looking for an amazing value, delicious and new wine? This wine was what Bordeaux was originally primarily made from, now its found almost exclusively in Chile. This is a delicious example of this incredible variety, which combines the best of Cabernet and Merlot – Concha y Toro makes the best examples of this unique variety in the world.

Dark and deep red. Attractive aromas of dark plums, blackcurrant and chocolate, with hints of coffee and toasted American oak. Notes of dark plums and spice, with a generous touch of toasted American oak and a soft and well structured mouthfilling texture.

Enjoy with fresh light dishes based on meat and vegetables. Also a good accompaniment to ripe cheese.”

What I Think:

Well lets get his one started by saying there is no doubt that I think this is the best value priced red wine at TJ’s. It is a blend of 85% Carménère, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Syrah. At one point I thought Carmenere was a Chilean grape but later learned it hails from Bordeaux though it is seldom found there nowadays. The first few works that come to mind are “dark and deep”. In more detail, smoky tobacco, loads of dark fruit and hints of coffee with some spice to boot. Nice from the first sip all the way through the long lingering finish. If you haven’t had it yet go get yourself some and if you have go get more. Just don’t tell too many people, I don’t want this one to go away.

Rating: Bulk Buy