Sipping into Fall with Concha y Toro

I’ve been doing everything I can to deny that fall is fast approaching. Warm afternoons still make me think of summer, but mornings are damp and the leaves on our birch tree are beginning to turn golden and fall to the ground. There is nothing left to do but smooth the transition into fall with delicious wine. We have a collection of wines, which we received as tasting samples, that suits this purpose perfectly. All are made by the esteemed Chilean producer Concha y Toro.

Torrontes and Sauvignon Blanc with tomato tart
Torrontes and Sauvignon Blanc with tomato tart

2017 Trivento Reserve White Orchid Torrontés, Mendozapale yellow in the glass with generous perfumed aromas of orange blossoms. Floral flavors follow the aromas along with stone fruit and citrus pith. The wine has bright acidity and a bit of roundness in the mouth with a very long finish. 12% abv. SRP $11

Are you familiar with Torrontés? It is an aromatic white grape variety indigenous to Argentina. If you haven’t tried Torrontés then this Trivento is a very reasonably-priced and delicious opportunity to do so. Nice acidity keeps the flavors bright and balances the floral aromas and flavors. 15% Pinot Gris is blended with the Torrontés, which may somewhat tame the floral character of Torrontés.

Concha y Toro made its first vineyard purchases across the Andes from Chile in Argentina’s Mendoza region in the mid-1990s. Since then Concha y Toro has been working its magic in the vineyard and in the wine bottle with its Trivento wines.

2017 Casillero del Diablo Reserva Sauvignon Blanc, Chilelight yellow in the glass with generous herbaceous notes of green grass and hints of gooseberries. The flavor are herbaceous, with jalapeño (minus the heat), cut grass and tropical fruit. A pleasing minerality and juicy acidity linger with the other flavors on the finish. 13% abv. $12

This Sauvignon Blanc clearly announces itself as such with its herbaceous aromas and flavors. I appreciate the tropical fruit flavors in the background, though, and the grassiness of this wine is significantly diminished with food. Once again, a nice wine for the price.

We paired these wines with a tomato tart, my nod to summertime. Tomatoes have been delicious from our Farmers Market of late and this tart put an exclamation point on summer. I started with puff pastry, added a dusting of Parmigiano-Reggiano underneath the slices of tomato. Feta cheese with fresh herbs (thyme and marjoram), salt and pepper finished the tart. Easy and delicious.

Both wines paired nicely with the tart, which was rich and buttery thanks to the puff pastry and both cheeses. The ripeness of the tomatoes balanced their acidity. This pairing mades it possible to hang on to summertime a bit longer.

Concha y Toro wines with grilled ribeye steaks and corn salad
Concha y Toro wines with grilled ribeye steaks and corn salad

This second group of wines are all sourced from Chilean vineyards in a variety of locations and represent several ranges made by Concha y Toro. We paired them with grilled ribeye steaks and corn salad. Normally I would make chimichurri to pair with grilled steaks and South American wine, but I couldn’t resist the juicy corn in our Farmers Market. It made a lovely pairing. When fresh, local corn is no longer available I will return to chimichurri, which will brighten our fall and winter meals.

The Marques de Casa Concha Range

The Marques de Casa Concha line of wines is named for the title given to the Concha y Toro family by King Felipe V of Spain in 1718. Each wine is made from a single, estate vineyard source and only in limited quantities. Vineyards are located in prime spots in the best Chilean wine regions. Each one in this tasting is a 100% varietal composition; you don’t often see that. New and used French oak is used to age the wine.

2016 Marques de Casa Concha Chardonnay, DO Limarilight golden in the glass with aromas of toast, spice and ripe pears. Complex flavors of tart apples and crisp pears are seasoned with hints of cedar, dried herbs and citrus zest. Acidity is front-of-the-tongue tingling and the wine has a bit of roundness and weight to it. The finish is very long and bright. 14.5% abv. SRP $25

This is a Chardonnay with a bit of toast, weight and plenty of complexity. Both the fruit and winemaking can be tasted in this wine in just about the right amounts. Barrel fermentation was followed by aging in French Burgundian barrels sur lie for 11-12 months creating a Chardonnay that is easy sipping, yet holds up to a meal — even if the meal is a grilled ribeye steak.

2016 Marques de Casa Concha Cabernet Sauvignon, DO Maipo medium ruby in the glass with aromas of dried herbs, plums and ripe blackberries. Ripe plum, raspberry and blackberry flavors gain complexity with cedar and dried tobacco in the background. Tannins are drying and linger on the finish along with tobacco. 13.5% abv. SRP $25

This is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon that is neither overripe or overdone. It has nice fruit flavors with herbaceous, tobacco notes in the background that are very pleasing.

The Cabernet Sauvignon is sourced from Concha y Toro’s Puente Alto Vineyard in Chile’s Maipo Valley. If you are a fan of Don Melchor Cabernet Sauvignon, Puente Alto then you recognize the vineyard source as the same for these two wines. For background on the vineyard read our review of the Melchor Cabernet Sauvignon.

2015 Marques de Casa Concha Carmenere, DO Peumodense ruby in the glass with aromas of jalapeño and dark fruit. Rich, ripe dark fruit flavors and cocoa have notes of jalapeño and bell pepper in the background. Tannins are grippy and linger on the very long finish. 14.5% abv. SRP $25

This is a rich and dark wine that works best with food for me. It is a bit too big to sip on its own and this wine will appeal to a wide variety of wine drinkers. It was outstanding with our grilled rib-eye steaks and will easily hold up to the most flavorful chimichurri you can whip up.

The Gran Reserva Serie Riberas Range

The Gran Reserva Seire Riberas, “Riverbank Series”, is a line of wines sourced from single vineyards all of which lie close to one of Chile’s major rivers — the Rapel, Cachapoal and Tinguirica.

2015 Gran Reserva Serie Riberas Carmenere Ribera del Cachapoal, DO Peumodense ruby in the glass with toasty aromas of dark berries and dusty earth. Ripe blackberry flavors along with hints of dried herbs and bell pepper are supported by grippy tannins. The flavors last a long time with tannins lingering. 14.5% abv. SRP $17

The combination of primarily dark fruit flavors with just hints in the background of dried herbs and bell pepper suits my palate best. I love those herbaceous, peppery flavors, but I don’t like them so much if they are the primary flavors. This wine gets it just right — for my palate.

This Carmenere is aged for 13 to 14 months in a combination of French and American oak barrels and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon is blended with the Carmenere.

The Casillero del Diablo Reserva Range

2016 Casillero del Diablo Reserva Carmenere, Chilemedium ruby in the glass with generous, dark fruit aromas. Flavors of ripe raspberries and blackberries with dried herbs in the background. Tannins are a bit grippy and the finish is medium in length. 14% abv. SRP $11

This is the lightest-bodied red wine in the group and the aromas are so pleasing. It will pair with most food you would think to enjoy with a red wine — pizza, pasta, burgers.

Concha y Toro first made the Casillero del Diablo range of wines in 1963. The goal with these devilishly delicious wines is to prove that wine needn’t be expensive to be delicious. With so many vineyards under the control of Concha y Toro vineyardists the winemakers have many vineyard sources to use in making this range of wines. The Casillero del Diablo range includes several tiers of wine.

We always look for locally made wines when we travel. During a recent trip to Cuba we only found one wine made in Cuba, but we kept looking throughout the entire trip. What we did see plenty of as we traveled through Cuba were the wines of Concha y Toro. The Casillero del Diablo range and Frontera wines were well-represented everywhere we visited. It was nice to find some familiar names among the otherwise mostly Spanish wines, which we do not know as well.

Thanks to the ladies at Creative Palate Communications for the sampling of this broad range of wines from Concha y Toro.


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