Concha Y Toro Marquis Casa Concha Merlot

“Wine is sunlight, held together by water.”…………….. Galileo Gallilei
It’s almost May and where I am it is colder now than it was in March; not the time for light wines outdoors.  In this weather, the mood turns to full bodied reds. Having enjoyed Concha y Toro before, I knew it would stand up to the cold weather and warm the chill I was experiencing. I opened a 2006 Merlot.  This is a merlot that looks more like a “cab” in the glass: deep and dark ruby and it has the body to match.  The nose offers chocolate, raisin and brandied apricot. Chocolate is evident in the wine’s taste also. But don’t think “sweet.” This is a full bodied, dry red wine. The back finish presents mashed plum and cherry with a spicy black pepper finish. This is a merlot that acts more like a “cab” except for its silky texture.

I realize I’m talking about a 2006 and it is 2012. And, as I’ve said before, if you have a room in your basement that can be closed off and kept dark with evenly cool temperatures year round, what you have is a wine cellar at the ready.  My experience with Concha Y Toro is that the wine has enough tannin to allow it to be cellared.  In fact, that’s just one of many things I like about Concha Y Toro. As Wine Spectator said, its “structure and texture are just right.”  The tannins are just right. The acid-fruit balance is just right.  And so is the price.  Concha Y Toro is widely available today at just under $20. Both Wine Spectator and Wine Enthusiast awarded the 2006 90 points. And the Mizer gives it his recommendation.

But that was then, you’re thinking, and how does that help now?  I agree it’s unlikely that you will be finding any 2006 Merlots at your retailer, and that’s probably a good thing.  You can, however find a 2009. Cellar tracker awarded this vintage 89.1 points. Wine Enthusiast gave it 89 also. And reading their tasting reviews mirrors my own impression.  Even more important, I think, is the review of the 2007. 90 points from Wine Spectator. 90 points from The Wine Advocate.  And again, the tasting notes read as did mine from the 2006. I’m not necessarily a point fan. But I am a consistency fan. Unless you have a memory to match a super-computer, or you always shop with all the vintage charts for all the wines in all the regions of the world in your pocket, how can you not be a fan of consistency? Year in, year out, Concha Y Toro produces excellent wine (they did not produce a Marquis de Casa Concha Merlot in 2008). But just for the record, their 2005 was awarded 90 points from Wine Spectator and referred to as a “best buy.” Wine Enthusiast awarded another 90 points for the 2004 vintage.

The 2012 harvest is already underway, but the wine will not be ready for some time. Concha Y Toro Marquis de Casa Concha Merlot is aged in French oak for fourteen months. The grapes are grown in the Peumo appellation within the Rapel Valley in Chile, and the wine is blended with a small amount of Carmenere. Chile, interestingly, is one of very few regions worldwide that did not suffer the scourge of phylloxera (the louse that destroyed most of the world’s vineyards in the 1800’s). Some vineyards, then, are quite old and have very old vines, though these are generally Carignan and Mourvedre. Despite that winemaking was brought to Chile in the 1500s by the Spanish, Chile didn’t really begin exporting until the 1980s. Today, exported wine represents a significant percentage of the country’s GNP. Tasting Concha Y Toro, Marquis de Casa Concha Merlot, one can understand why. Don’t miss out on this Mizer recommendation.

………………………..  Jim

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