Casillero del Diablo: The Rosé from Hell

It’s said that Hell is where all the fun people wind up, and if there’s one wine brand that proves this, Casillero del Diablo (Spanish for ‘Cellar of the Devil’) would be it. One of the first wine brands I ever purchased for myself, a decision I admittedly made solely on the basis of the word ‘Diablo’ on the bottle, CdD has long been my go-to option for dirt-cheap Chilean wine — a category already rife with great values.

Casillero del Diablo is actually not Concha y Toro’s least expensive label — that honor goes to Frontera — but it should still fall well within the price range of bargain hunters, averaging $11 a bottle when not on sale, and, at least in the state of Pennsylvania, it’s on sale often. Could it be because the devil himself sits on the PA Liquor Control Board? We can’t rule it out.

Anyway, I naturally leaped at the opportunity to sample CdD’s Rosé, which
is a new addition to their lineup this year, and arriving just in time for summer — provided summer does in fact occur this year in Pennsylvania (fingers crossed). Mostly Syrah, with small amounts of Cinsault and (perhaps in celebration of the wine’s inherent Chilean-ness) Carmenere blended in, the wine was fermented in steel and sealed with a screwcap like the rest of the CdD series. It pours a pale, transparent salmon color and features that typical Rosé nose, redolent of strawberries and flower petals.

On the palate, the floral flavors are subtler, the fruit more pronounced. Most noteworthy, however, is not the flavor profile. Ladies and gentleman, this Rosé is crisp. It’s bright enough that your tongue’ll need sunglasses, bringing an electric acidity that underscores the berry notes and quickly initiates goat cheese cravings. Unfortunately — as I am not the most employed person at the moment — 7-11 pizza was my sad alternative, but it still paired nicely (with Rosé and pizza, even bad pizza, it’s hard to go wrong). Whatever you choose, food is a necessity for maximum enjoyment.

I also tasted CdD’s Sauvignon Blanc 2015, a delightful wine in its own right, bursting with the usual grapefruit and gooseberry notes we’ve come to expect from Chilean Sauv Blanc. Having tasted this wine on many previous occasions, however, it didn’t leave as much of a mark as the Rosé, who is taking its first unsteady steps after emerging from (I can only assume) some manner of vinous Purgatory. It held up admirably alongside the old CdD guard, and I look forward to trying both the 2015 again and future iterations to see how things evolve.

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