Casillero del Diablo is a brand produced by the Concha Y Toro Winery in Chile. The estate is one of Chile’s most successful commercial wineries, and is responsible in part for Chile’s emergence as one of the primary wine exporting countries in the world.
I’m always interested in tasting Pinot Noir wines from different parts of the globe because it’s said that Pinot Noir is one of the most difficult grapes to grow; requiring a mix of rain, sun, and primarily cooler weather conditions. I am fortunate to have traveled in northern Chile, and the climate is mostly warm and dry and somewhat dessert-like in certain parts; quite the contrary to the ideal climate for Pinot Noir cultivation. For this very reason, I was hesitant to indulge in this particular bottle of wine.
The term, “Casillero del Diablo”, translates to “The Devil’s Cellar”. The founding visionary behind Concha Y Toro, Don Melchor Concha Y Toro, is credited with preventing theft in his wine cellar by creating mythical stories that the devil’s spirits haunted his wine cellar. Stories became myth, myth became legend, and legend became…a very successful advertising strategy. Casillero del Diablo is one of Chile’s leading wine brands and is well represented in the United States with wines readily available in many retail stores around the country.
The grapes for this wine are sourced from two of Chile’s main winegrowing regions. In Casablanca Valley, the grapes are subject to the regular morning mist that occurs in the valleys as a result of the proximity to the Pacific Ocean. As the warm sea air interacts with the cooler inland temperatures, fog and mist are created. This occasional watering is crucial to a linear ripening process. Further south in the Bio-Bio Valley, the grapes grow in a cooler climate, as the nearby Andes Mountains dominate the landscape. The need for cooler temperatures is important for the grape to maintain natural acids.
In the glass, the wine is rather light in color with bright purple hues. On the nose, aromas of raspberry and oak are most prevalent with secondary scents of pine and earth. In the mouth, cranberry fruits are dominant with notes of blueberry. There’s also a muddy quality about the wine, reminiscent of mushrooms and grass. After about thirty minutes, the wine takes on more complex flavors of toffee and tobacco, although the flavors of vanilla are still very noticeable. Overall the wine is pretty and floral with bright red fruit flavors, and rather aggressive oak influences.