Concha y Toro Casillero del Diablo Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon 2016

Deep ruby color; cherry, blackcurrant, plum on the nose; red cherry, plum, peppercorn, mocha, touch of oak on the palate.

Concha y Toro Casillero del Diablo Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 Halloween packaging
Concha y Toro Casillero del Diablo Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon 2016

Dry; medium body, easy tannin, very easy drinker. This is not a complex, sophisticated cab, but it does square-on hit the “even people who do not like cab will like this cab” sweet spot. The Halloween element is a gimmick, but—hey—this is a wine business, and the business is to sell wine. Enjoy the campy box at your Halloween party; this is the entry level of the Casillero del Diablo (Cellar of the Devil) brand. Pour more sophisticated wine at your dinner party—and Concha y Toro makes those wines, too.

Concha y Toro consistently delivers great value for price. Casillero del Diablo is one of their premium wine labels—they also have fine wine labels (Don Melchor is the flagship) and lower end varietal labels (Fontera and Sunrise). Winemaker Marcelo Papa is responsible for this wine. He earned a degree in enology from Universidad Católica de Chile, joined Concha y Toro, and has been head winemaker at Casillero del Diablo since 1998.

Casillero del Diablo winemaker Marcelo Papa

Concha y Toro is Chile’s biggest winery and an important player on the world wine stage. Don Melchor de Santiago Concha y Toro founded the winery in 1883. When he saw that some of this best wines disappeared from his cellar, Don Melchor decided to put an end to thefts by creating a story that the devil lived in the cellar, which was in the deepest and darkest part of the winery. The Casillero del Diablo rumor spread. Some claimed to have actually seen diablo (devil). As the story goes, the thefts stopped. Today, the legend lives on more as a marketing ploy than a ploy to frighten would-bed cellar robbers, and it is a particularly useful marketing tool around Halloween.

Concha y Toro, BTW, is Spanish for “shell and bull.” The Casillero del Diablo story may contain some elements of bull, but the wines consistently are very drinkable values, and Chile—and Argentina on the other side of the Andes—are major contributors to the exquisite abundance of quality wines in the world today.

Concha y Toro Casillero del Diablo Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 is serviceable cab with clever Halloween niche. It is tame for a cab, with subdued tannin and acidity. Very easy drinker with nice red fruits, hint of chocolate, and mercifully restrained oak. Pair with meat casserole, roasted beef, empanadas, barbecue, pizza, roast lamb, roast duck. $9-11

Concha y Toro website

Entrance to Casillero del Diablo cellar
Inside Cellar of the Devil
Concha y Toro vineyard
Don Melchor and family