Discovering the Essence of Concha y Toro Wines: a Wine Event in London

On behalf of The Story of my Wine I was invited to the Casillero del Diablo Experience wine event in London, where we discovered the most popular wines offered by Concha y Toro – the Casillero del Diablo line. The event included international wine writers, sommeliers, and influencers. We extend our thanks to Ghislaine Melman and Ben Smith for inviting The Story Of My Wine to this event.

During the event, Marcelo Papa, the technical director of Concha y Toro, gave a beautiful presentation and gave a sneak peek of new wines, such as the Tempranillo from Spain and the BeLight low-alcohol wines. He discussed the history of Concha y Toro, their variety of wines, and how research and development, along with innovative techniques, have led to their growth in recent years. Of course, we also got to enjoy a wide range of wines ourselves. We tasted 9 of their wines, ranging from well-known wines to new wines with a lower alcohol percentage, the BeLight line, and also a sparkling wine, Devil’s brut!

Jeroen with a glass of devils brut
Casillero del Diablo bottles opening
Casillero del Diablo Reserva Especial Chardonnay
Casillero del Diablo devils brut

History and Origin of Concha Y Toro

The story of Concha y Toro begins in the late 19th century with the vision of Don Melchor de Santiago Concha y Toro. Don Melchor was a prominent Chilean politician and businessman who had a deep appreciation for fine wines. He was inspired by the renowned French vineyards and decided to bring the magic of Bordeaux wines to Chile. In 1883, he planted the first vines in the Maipo Valley, which marked the birth of the Concha y Toro vineyard. When he discovered that many bottles of wine were missing, he made up the story that the devil was in his cellars. This resulted in a halt in wine thefts.

Over the years, Concha y Toro has grown from a modest family vineyard to become one of the world’s most respected wine brands. This journey has been marked by perseverance, innovation, and an unwavering commitment to quality. Today, Concha y Toro wines are celebrated globally for their exceptional taste, diversity, and consistency.

The history of Concha y Toro is not just about the past – it serves as a foundation for the future. This rich legacy continues to inspire the brand to push boundaries, explore new territories, and create wines that are truly extraordinary.

Marcelo Papa: Responsible for Wine Production

Marcelo Papa is the Technical Director at Concha y Toro. He is responsible for the wine production of the company, which includes the famous Casillero del Diablo brand. Under his leadership, the brand has become one of the world’s most famous wines, selling over 7 million cases globally.

Papa places great emphasis on maintaining top-class hygiene in the vineyards and cellars. He also strives to reflect the terroir in his wines, bringing out the best characteristics from each vineyard he works with. This is achieved by carefully selecting the best vineyards and grapes, and making a narrower special selection for the Reserva Especial and Reserva Privada lines of wines.

Understanding the Variety of Concha Y Toro Wines

Concha y Toro wines are defined by their remarkable variety. From vibrant whites to robust reds, their wines cater to a diverse palate. Each wine has its distinct personality, reflecting the unique characteristics of the region where it originates.

The variety of Concha y Toro wines goes beyond flavors. It also reflects the brand’s commitment to innovation and exploration. Over the years, Concha y Toro has introduced several pioneering initiatives, from sustainable viticulture practices to cutting-edge winemaking techniques. These efforts have resulted in a range of wines that are not only diverse but also sustainable and innovative.

As I delve deeper into the world of Concha y Toro wines, I am continually amazed by their diversity and depth. Each wine, vintage, and terroir offers a unique story and experience. It’s this variety that makes the journey of discovery so exciting, intriguing, and enriching.

The Essence of Concha Y Toro Wines

What is the essence of Concha y Toro wines? This is a question that I have often pondered. Is it the rich flavors that tantalize the palate? Is it the legacy of quality that spans over a century? Or is it the brand’s commitment to sustainability and innovation? As I delve deeper, I realize that the essence of Concha y Toro wines is all of these and more.

The essence of Concha y Toro wines lies in the harmony between tradition and innovation. The brand has a legacy deeply rooted in the rich Chilean terroir and age-old winemaking traditions. At the same time, Concha y Toro embraces innovation, continually exploring new techniques and practices to enhance the quality and diversity of its wines.

The essence of Concha y Toro wines is also reflected in the brand’s commitment to sustainability. From the vineyard to the winery, every aspect of the production process is guided by a profound respect for nature. This commitment to sustainability not only ensures the quality of the wines but also contributes to a healthier planet.

But most importantly, the essence of Concha y Toro wines lies in the experience. It’s about the joy of discovery, the pleasure of tasting, and the satisfaction of sharing. It’s about creating moments of joy, connection, and celebration. In essence, Concha y Toro wines are about creating memories. They offer different lines that emphasize different styles of wines, from Casillero del Diablo, which offers very accessible wines, to the Diablo dark line known for its robust gastronomic characters, to the more premium lines that represent the region and typicality of the grapes.

Casillero del Diablo Experience setting
Casillero del Diablo Experience bottles
Casillero del Diablo belight
Casillero del Diablo sauvignon blanc special reserva

Casillero del Diablo Wine Tasting: A Sensory Experience at the London Event

The Casillero del Diablo wine tasting at the Wine Event in London was an unforgettable experience. As I sipped on the different varieties, I was transported to the lush vineyards of Concha y Toro, experiencing the rich flavors, unique characteristics, and distinct personalities of each wine. It was easy to understand why this is the most popular wine brand in the UK, Ireland, and Belgium, and the fourth most popular in the Netherlands. They offer a variety of wines, from affordable and accessible options to more complex wines that offer great value for money, and can easily be found in supermarkets.

The wine tasting was not just about taste; it was a sensory journey. From enticing aromas to rich colors, intricate textures to lingering aftertastes, each aspect of the tasting offered a unique insight into the world of Casillero del Diablo wines.

What made the tasting truly special was the opportunity to interact with the experts. Their knowledge, passion, and insights added a new dimension to the tasting experience, deepening my understanding and appreciation of Concha y Toro wines. I learned a lot from my conversation with Marcelo Papa about the sustainability and research and development sides, as well as from Lynn Balaresque about their innovations and how it helps to grow the quality and discover new possibilities, such as the BeLight line with lower alcohol. It’s always great to hear the personal stories of the wine from the people themselves.

Favorite wines of the tasting

  • Wine 1 – Casillero del Diablo Devil’s Brut (81/100) – Nice light, fresh sparkling wine with gentle acidity, green apple, citrus tones, and a mineral aftertaste.
  • Wine 2 – Casillero del Diablo BeLight Sauvignon Blanc 2022 (82/100) – This wine has attractive aromas of citrus, asparagus, and vegetal green notes. It features medium acidity and a nice dry taste, with a typical Sauvignon style from Chile. On the palate, you can taste citrus, lime zest, green pepper, parsley, and asparagus. It is low in alcohol (8.5%) due to an earlier harvest. This BeLight line contains only 65 calories, which is lower than regular Sauvignon Blanc, but still has a full flavor that is very refreshing and enjoyable. It pairs well with snacks and is perfect for summer drinking.
  • Wine 3 – Casillero del Diablo Reserva Especial Sauvignon Blanc 2022 (85/100) – This sauvignon blanc from the cool Rapel Coast is great, with full citrus aromas of lime and orange, and subtle green notes in the background. It has medium acidity perfectly in balance, with a palate of citrus, lime, and orange, along with a mineral finish. Its classic style is very elegant, smooth, and soft.
  • Wine 4 – Casillero del Diablo Reserva Especial Chardonnay 2021 (85/100) – Soft sweet honey aromas with red apple and citrus. It has medium acidity, and on the palate, it is fresh, dry, and has flavors of honey, apple, peach, citrus, and elegant minerality.. It is robust and firm but not out of balance, with a touch of wood tones. I would describe it as both robust and elegant.
  • Wine 5 – Casillero del Diablo Reserva Especial Cabernet Sauvignon 2022 (86/100) – This wine offers a warm sensation with notes of dark fruit, cassis, blackberries, and cherries. Its palate features medium acidity and gentle medium(+) tannins, with elegant notes of cherries, concentrated strawberries, cassis, and vanilla. It has a refreshing aftertaste with a hint of eucalyptus. In my opinion, this wine is a typical representation of Cabernet Sauvignon from Chile.
  • Wine 6 – Casillero del Diablo Reserva Privada Cabernet Sauvignon 2021 (88/100) – This is a serious red wine with a complex aroma, particularly of cherries, strawberries, leather, chocolate, laurel, and licorice, which unmistakably identifies it as a cabernet sauvignon. The palate has medium(+) acidity and medium(+) tannins, beautifully balanced to create a full-bodied wine with many layers. The wine features dark red fruit, ripe cherries, fresh strawberries, orange zest, laurel, licorice, tobacco, cigar box, and cacao. It pairs perfectly with grilled meat and is best enjoyed in the evening.

BeLight, the newest line: The Unique Flavors and Characteristics

While exploring the world of Casillero del Diablo wines, I was particularly intrigued by their BeLight wine. It was enjoyable, fresh, and had an intriguing flavor. Despite being lower in alcohol at 8.5% and lower in calories at 65, compared to regular Sauvignon Blanc, it still had a full flavor that was refreshing and enjoyable. As a fan of low or no alcohol drinks, taste is the most important part for me. That’s why I’m eager to try more of the BeLight wines, including the rose version that wasn’t available at the event, in the comfort of my home. Although it’s not widely available, it can be found in the UK, Ireland, and Belgium. Starting in 2024, it will also be available in the Netherlands.

The Future of Concha Y Toro: Innovations and Developments

As I reflect on my journey of discovery, I am excited about the future of Concha y Toro. The brand boasts a rich legacy, strong commitment to quality, and a passion for innovation. These qualities bode well for the future, promising new experiences, flavors, and moments of joy.

Innovation and development are at the heart of Concha y Toro’s future. This involves exploring new territories, experimenting with new techniques, and pushing the boundaries of what’s possible. During our conversation,Marcelo Papa expressed his desire to challenge the brand by stretching their goals on sustainability. For example, they now ship most of their wine in bulk to Europe, where it is bottled, reducing the need for four additional containers as one container of wine in bulk holds the same amount as four containers of bottled wine. The wines that they produce in smaller amounts are shipped with the bottles, so they experiment with new production methods that make the glass lighter in weight but still durable enough to ensure the wine is kept in perfect condition.

I was also impressed by the conversation with Lynn Balaresque. In addition to their focus on growth, they also challenge themselves to find new ways to produce more sustainable wine, improve quality, and create new variations of wine, such as the lower alcohol wines in the BeLight line. It’s all about continuous experimentation to achieve better results without sacrificing taste and experience. I truly appreciate this philosophy.

Member of the Global B Corporation Community.

They are also proud to be part of the worldwide B Corporation community, which demonstrates their dedication to social and environmental performance, openness, and accountability.

Concha y Toro represents a dogged quest for quality and genuine regard for the land in the world of wine. Their wines bear the imprint of their heritage, a legacy of passion and knowledge passed down through centuries.

Conclusion: The Lasting Impact of Concha Y Toro Wines

Concha y Toro wines offer a diverse range of flavors that reflect the unique characteristics of the regions where they originate. The brand’s commitment to sustainability and innovation is evident in its range of wines. The future of Concha y Toro involves innovation, development, exploring new territories, and pushing the boundaries of what is possible. The Casillero del Diablo Experience Wine Event in London provided a sensory experience, showcasing the variety and complexity of Casillero del Diablo and Concha y Toro’s wines, including their unique flavors and characteristics.

We would like to thank Ghislaine Melman and Ben Smith for inviting us, and Marcelo Papa and Lynn Balaresque for the great conversation.

Previously published on The Story of my Wine: go to The Story of my Wine

Casillero del Diablo Experience bottles

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