From £8.11, $15.95, €12.65, Can$19.98
There is no avoiding the fact that Chile has upped its game enormously over the past few years. It can now make very competent versions of a wide variety of grape varieties, and is starting to make some interesting blends, too. Perhaps the most amazing aspect of Chile's recent progress is the mushrooming of new, typically coolish, wine regions both north and considerably south of the old heartland of wine production.
However, it is important to remember that the classic combination of variety and place - Cabernet Sauvignon and Maipo close to the capital Santiago - is regarded as classic for a reason. Concha y Toro is the leading wine company in Chile in terms of quantity and, happily, also occupies a commanding position in terms of quality for many of its brands. Concha y Toro's myriad labels include Cono Sur, Terrunyo, Los Robles, Casillero del Diablo, Don Melchor and Marqués de Casa Concha. They may not display as much idiosyncrasy as, say, the fascinating range of artisanal wines shown at London's recent generic tasting by the MOVI group of smaller independent wine producers on which I will be reporting. But they are extremely reliable and, generally, very decent value - despite the copper-bottomed strength of the Chilean economy.
I think that this Marqués de Casa Concha Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 Maipo, handpicked, aged in French barriques for 18 months and from the highly characterful, well-drained alluvial and gravelly soils of Puente Alto vineyards, is a great buy for less than £10 a bottle. This was my note on it published in Does Chilean regionality exist? yesterday:
Marqués de Casa Concha Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 Maipo 17 Drink 2011-2015
92% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Carmenère, 1% Petit Verdot. Rich and layered. Lots there on the nose. And then amazingly polished on the palate. A well-ripened potential monster has been tamed and is kept in a corset of what the back label calls 'kind tannins'. Well, why not? VGV [= very good value] 14.5%
This is a really well-balanced, well-constituted wine with a future, a wine that you could drink now with food but that will repay keeping. You can buy it in the UK for £8.11 from Bellwether Wines of Peterborough (although they do not specify a vintage on their website), £9.07 from Rodney Densem Wines of Cheshire and £9.30 from Tanners of Shrewsbury. The following UK merchants are currently stocking the 2007 vintage and are expected to move on to the 2008, according to the importers Concha y Toro UK: Auriol Wines, Bablake Wines, Broadmarsh Wines, Corks Out, Corkscrew Wines, D Byrne & Co, Everywine.co.uk, Farr Vintners (this seems unlikely to me), Flagship Wines, Hailsham Cellars, Nethergate Wines, St Martin Vintners and Villeneuve Wines of Scotland.
As you will see from the 'Find this wine' link to Wine-searcher.com, the wine is widely available in the US and Canada, as well as in Belgium, Germany and - a first for one of our wines of the week - Iceland.
Oh, and I have just been reminded, looking at Concha y Toro's website, that they are official sponsors of Manchester United. Something to bruit not too loudly at the moment perhaps.