The final selection in my annual Hallo-Wine series is aptly named: Casillero del Diablo means “Cellar of the Devil,” and this particular wine is from the so-called “Devil’s Collection.” And the best part of this wine is the price! But first, some history.
In the closing years of the 19th century Don Melchor de Concha y Toro discovered that his most treasured wines had been pilfered from his cellar. Enraged, the enterprising Don spread a rumor that his deepest, darkest cellars were haunted by the devil. Today, the original Concha y Toro family estate, complete with its Devil’s Cellar, is Chile’s leading tourist destination, and you see Casillero del Diablo wines everywhere here in America.
If you’re looking for a region with quality, value-priced wines, Chile is hard to beat. With its steady sunshine, cooling ocean breezes and pestilence-free vineyards, it’s a winemaker’s dream. Chile is one of the only areas in the world that was not affected by the Phylloxera epidemic, which almost single-handedly destroyed the European wine industry after being brought over from America. The louse attacks the roots of vinifera vines, which in Europe had no resistance to it. It wasn’t until European vines were grafted onto North American root stock that the storied wines of Bordeaux, Burgundy and Champagne were saved.
There’s much more to the story, of course, but what’s interesting is that (knock on wood!) Chile has never been affected by Phylloxera, so the vines that were transported here from France in colonial times are as close to “original” as you can find anywhere in the world. Not grafted onto any other roots, these vinifera vines are the real deal. Add to this a winemaking tradition based on French grape varieties and classic techniques, and you have a winning combination. Casillero del Diablo wines have also proven, since 1963, to be both inexpensive, yet of high quality.
The 2017 Devil’s Red is an excellent wine for the price, and right now is the time to buy. It’s listed on the Casillero del Diablo website at nearly $20, but you can find it locally now for only $9.99! Find a bottle, or two, and savor it for Halloween. Dark and deep purple in the glass, this wine has subtle flavors of dark cherry, black plum, and a touch of vanilla. It’s not a bold wine, its flavors won’t hit you over the head, but it’s very smooth and balanced, and a very nice wine for the price!
On my five-cork scale based on taste and value (emphasis on value) the 2017 Casillero del Diablo Devil’s Red gets a solid four corks, and at $9.99, is an absolute steal!
If you’d like to try interesting wines like this, please join me at our next private wine party at Eighteen the Radisson Cincinnati Riverfront Hotel’s rotating steakhouse in the sky! I host a wine dinner there every month, and we feature several interesting wines, each paired with a delicious course. There are always cool prizes to win, too, so listen Wednesday at 4:15 to win your spot on the guest list, or click here for a chance to win!