I have a confession to make: Second to Christmas, Halloween is my favorite holiday. The costumes, the candy, the parties… Our home is notorious for throwing geeky Halloween parties full of board games, our friend Paul’s cooking, lots of booze, and horror movie marathons.
Speaking of booze, here is one wine that comes to mind that fits the Halloween concept: Casillero del Diablo. Roughly translated, it means “cellar of the devil”. Made by arguably the best wine house in Chile, Concha Y Toro (seriously, if you ask a Chilean which of their wine brands is the best, they would point you to Concha Y Toro), this powerhouse brand has an amazing narrative behind the label that’s worthy of a Halloween campfire story.
Legend has it that back in the old days (before high tech security systems, and during a time when people easily believed “spiritual” stories), the founder of Concha Y Toro, Don Melchor Concha Y Toro had a problem: his wines were so phenomenal that people kept stealing them from his cellar.
To solve this, he spread word that there was a devil (diablo in Spanish) that lurked in his cellar (casillero). To further substantiate the rumors, he made noises late at night, which got people to believe the tales.
When I first heard about this story, I made it a mission to check out the cellar myself (and made it a part of my bucket list). ProChile, during my press tour last year, made it happen for me.
Upon inspection, my first thought was, man… Those thieves had serious skills. The cellar was 45 feet below the ground, awfully dark, one door, and several tiny vents.
Here’s the creepy part, though: When I started to take photos, my camera malfunctioned in certain parts of the cellar.
Was it the work of a devil?
Whether or not an evil spirit actually skulked around in the cellar, one thing is certain: Concha Y Toro wines are legendary.
In my trip, I was treated to a glass Trio Sauvignon Blanc. The Trio line is never a single varietal, but a masterful blend of three different grapes combined together to make gorgeous easy drinking wines.
I also had the Reserva Privada version of Casillero del Diablo, and their Gran Reserva Carmenere (a respected wine critic once told me that the ultimate benchmark for a proper Carmenere will definitely come from Concha Y Toro).
The house was also kind enough to treat me to a wine tasting of their slightly upscale line of Marques de Casa Concha wines (Chad can only drink a Marques Chardonnay or a proper Chablis), with the supervision of their sommelier, Soledad Manríquez León.
It was amazing to have a wine tasting in the presence of their top of the line wines, Don Melchor and Almaviva (a multi-awarded collaboration between Concha Y Toro and famous Bordeaux wine house Baron Philippe de Rothschild).
If you want to experience the thrilling cellar for yourself, you can book a tour through their website (and since you’re halfway around the world from Manila, do go around Chile, it’s BREATHTAKING). On a budget? Concha Y Toro wines are available in most leading supermarkets and theyr’e pretty affordable.
What are you drinking this #halloween2015? Does it come with a horror story too? Cheers!
*If I haven’t said it enough, Muchos Gracias to ProChile (Mr. Patricio Fainberg and Ms. Maria Jose Hernandez Alcaino), you were so amazing to let me check off one thing in my life’s bucket list. Ms. Soledad Manríquez León, thank you for making the experience even more fantastic. Mr. Jose Tomas Cancino, thank you for going to work on a Saturday to accommodate me (we still owe you a tour in one of our beaches).