Casillero del Diablo Red Blend 2017D.O Central Valley, Chile | Casillero del Diablo.
I t’s been a while since I posted a Cheap Wine Bastard review. Matter of fact a year and a month. So today I was inspired. I was navigating around my fellow gray hairs on senior discount day at Publix (making sure I followed the correct direction with the COVID one-way Street Plan they have). I saw a couple of wines on sale that were at my price point…. under $10. With $1.20 off this one came in at $9.89.
I’ve always like Casillero del Diablo, or at least the story behind it. I doubt I would spend more than $15 for their wine unless it had sparkling reviews…but I never read reviews before I buy so that’s not going to happen. Most of the places I buy wine wouldn’t have their more expense wines anyway.
I’ve had at least 15 previous mentions in my reviews or covering wine tastings over the years for their label. I’ve joined the masses (folks who fall prey to the marketing types at the wineries) and have started to gravitate to the dark red blends that everyone seems to be touting. All it will take is another “wine” movie like Sideways and an off-the-cuff remark about jammy red blends and that niche market will tank like Merlot). I checked my database and saw where I have this wine back in 2017 at the old Vineyard but back then the label was pretty plain. Now they dress it up with a red hand-drawn poster style font that screams “I’m jammy like all the other ‘dark’ wines”. I digress.
So the legend goes that Don Melchor, one of the founding fathers of Chilean wine, was tired of his best wines disappearing from his cellar. So he started a rumor in 1891 that the Devil lived in the cellar and the pilfering stopped. Thus the name Casillero del Diablo or “The Devil’s Cellar” was born. Good story. Typically these wines run from $9 to $15 dollars and run the gamut from Cabernet Sauvignon to Carmenere.
So this hunter-gatherer was out scrounging for disinfectant wipes (found at Costco) and thought it was time for the senior discount at Publix and cash in the $25 in scratch-off tickets accumulated during the lock down. (I reinvested my winnings and and won $30. I’m up $5). I spotted this on sale and was inspired. Since I sneaked off without a pass from the home I got saddled with making dinner. So the hunter-gatherer marinated some 59 cent a pound drumsticks from Lidl and tossed them on the grill. I also experimented with my quarantine-hoard of frozen corn-on-the-cob that was pre-slimed with butter and salt. All I had to do is toss their foil wrapped carcasses on the grill, let them thaw as they cooked. Mrs. Dan says I should not do this again and I should stick to being a hunter-gatherer.
She did like the chicken and the wine. Aha. The wine.
I knew I would get back to it. Mrs. Dan opened it while I was tossing on the chicken (which was marinated in teriyaki marinade with pineapple juice and some Worcestershire sauce. On first taste, after breathing for about 2 minutes, this was a dark, rich, lush almost velvety explosion of black berries. I really like this wine. It’s Syrah backbone was evident, especially at first. While grilling I held it up to the sky to determine a color and it was fairly dark but reddish purple is the best way to describe the edges against the light.
Second taste and a little more breathing and it started to taste more like a cab. The smooth texture shifted to some nice chewy tannins and picked up a bit of spice. Still got some great dark flavors which were now leaning toward dark cherry than blackberry. Still like the wine. It paired nicely with the grilled chicken. Mrs. Dan liked it. The bottle did not last for another night. This is a really good $9.89 wine. I wouldn’t be so happy if I had paid $16 or so since the flavors I found on first sip was long gone by the last sip. But then again I did enjoy it throughout the meal.
It is a nice wine. Looking at the label it says “This red blend’s velvety smooth texture carries focused flavors of ripe black fruit, plum, and black berry upfront, followed by dark chocolate notes in the midpalate. A charming finish is balanced by mild tannins and marked with hints of toast and spice.” I missed the chocolate notes. I wouldn’t make this a go-to wine but I would purchase it again next time it pops up at $9.89.
Author Dan Doughtie