Game Changer: Chilean Cab Sav changes for the better.

Founded in 1883, Viña Concha y Toro is Latin America’s leading producer, producing wine from 8,800 hectares. They produce a multitude of grape varieties from Chile and Argentina.

It’s really likely that you’ve drunk one of their wines at some point: probably most notably their Casillero del Diablo, (see below). You can find these wines everywhere, and they’re of impeccable quality-price ratio.

Matthew Jukes, wine critic, states that the Casillero del Diablo Cabernet Sauvignon Reserva 2013 is one of the the world’s finest value Cabernet Sauvignon. It’s pretty much impossible to disagree; it’s an outstanding quality for only £8.

cas-1

Marcelo Papa is the genius behind it all, and the wine I want to focus on isn’t Casillero, but from the Marques de Casa Concha range.

NEW VINTAGE: Marques de Casa Concha Cabernet Sauvignon 2013

Sainsbury’s – £12

Marques de Casa Concha Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 copy

The new vintage of Marques de Casa Concha Cabernet 2013 is now in Sainsbury’s.  Marcelo Papa, winemaker, has been experimenting with larger oak casks and earlier picking over the past few years and this is the first vintage released that is testament to these experiments.

His wines are moving away from the “blockbuster” style of the 90s and returning to an elegant style with lower alcohol that demonstrates the terroir of Puente Alto. Marcelo said he wanted to drink a wine that he himself would always choose to drink, and hence with these changes, we see a fresh and expressive wine. The little bit of extra money really goes a long way.

In short, the way I would describe this – this means we have a fresh wine that has notes more focused on blackcurrants and fresh blackberries like the ones you can pick right off the bush, instead of the ones that have been sitting in a supermarket box and a bit squished. This is done through picking dates (see below).

Here’s a visual that makes it all a bit clearer to understand: (from left – earlier picking – to right, later picking) The earlier the grape is picked, the fresher flavours it retains.

cabsavmodel.jpg

How has Marcelo done this?

There’s been big change for the first time between vintages.  I’ve put them in a graph below to make things simpler…

What does it mean?

  • Using different varietals is up to the winemaker and what he feels will make that specific vintage stand out. Different varietals give the wine specific characteristics: for example here the addition of Petit Verdot adds tannin, colour and a boost of flavour. It’s a great blending grape.
  • The region/vineyard is up to the winemaker; which region has succeeded best during that vintage and hence stays true to the wine.
  • Picking dates! = Marcelo is creating a whole wave of difference in winemaking. Later picking means more opulent fruit, but less acidity. Earlier picking gives you fruit forward notes but with a much fresher style.
  • Barrels and casks used = in 2011, Marcelo got new 5000l casks from Italy. Chile naturally has a warmer climate than Bordeaux, so already gets sweetness from the climate, without the need for using lots of toasty oak. Hence, the use of these big botti mean that the resulting wine really demonstrates terroir with a much less oak-heavy presence.
Marques de Casa Concha Cabernet Sauvignon, Sainsbury’s, £12
Vintage 2012 2013
Alcohol 14.6% 14.2%
Varietal blend 98% Cabernet Sauvignon, 2% Syrah 93% Cabernet Sauvignon, 4% Cabernet Franc, 2% Syrah and 1% Petit Verdot
Region 85% Puente Alto, 14% Marchigue, 1% Pirque 85% Puente Alto, 15% Pirque
Picking dates & maturity 100% mature fruit, first – third week of April (slightly earlier than previous vintages due to hot temperatures) 50% fresh fruit (picked March 20th – March 31st) , 50% mature fruit (picked 15th April – 25th April)
Barrels/casks used 35% new French barrels (225l)

65% max second fill barrels (225l)

20% new French barrels

60% max second fill barrels

20% large cask Botti (5000l)

 

The final resulting wine? Delicious, and – (again) – fresh.

Food pairing? A good steak, or a winter stew. Also goes well with strong game flavours or as your red for a cheeseboard.

Cherry, cedar and blackberry notes with a smoky edge with a tar presence. Tight and focused with a deep concentration of flavours framed by firm tannins.

 

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