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Why Chilean wine is usually a good bet
I COULD never be a wine consultant. For one thing, there are too many wine names I can’t pronounce. I blame this on the inflexibility of my Anglo-Saxon tongue. In reality, I didn’t pay enough attention during French lessons.
Occasionally, though, my consultancy skills are called upon. Although strictly on an amateur basis: I only have one client.
My better half will always ring me, when she’s out to dinner with her mates, at the point when the wine list arrives. “I only want a glass and there are a few choices, she says, do you think I would like an Australian shiraz, a Spanish tempranillo, something from Beaujolais or a Chilean cabernet sauvignon?”
It’s impossible to make an informed choice in these circumstances. Perhaps, if I could have a taste of each wine, I could give a worthwhile opinion. But if I had to make a stab in the dark, I would choose the wine from Chile. It fits with one of my wine-rules of thumb, which states that Chilean wine is almost always drinkable.
Meanwhile you might like to try one of the following Chilean reds, which tick all the right boxes.
I find wines in the Casillero del Diablo range to be mostly very drinkable and sometimes very good.
Casillero Del Diablo 2010 Carmenère falls into the latter category. It’s a true expression of Chile’s speciality grape and an affordable one too. It has aromas of blackcurrant and green pepper, with brambles, plums, cloves, chocolate and spice on the palate.
On offer at Waitrose is the supermarket’s own label Chilean Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon 2008, produced by Viña Valdivieso. Made with fruit from the Maipo Valley, it’s a textbook cab, with rich flavours of cassis, mint and vanilla oak, held together by some firm tannins.
Santa Carolina is a new range from Chile, with a number of varietal wines listed at Budgens. Santa Carolina Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon 2010, from the Colchagua Valley, is a capable example.
Rich, with juicy blackcurrant, green pepper, dark chocolate and vanilla, it has structure and food-pairing acidity too.
Casillero Del Diablo 2010 Carmenère, £7.99 at Asda and Sainsbury’s 18/20.
Waitrose Viña Valdivieso Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon 2008, £7.49 (until April 10) at Waitrose 17/20.
Santa Carolina Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon 2010, £9.99 at Budgens 17/20.