Sometimes, like last night at a tasting of winemaker Marcelo Papa’s wines for the Casillero del Diablo and Marques de Casa Concha brands at the almost hard to find Salt Tasting Room in a back alley of Vancouver’s Gastown district, opportunity knocks a subtle knock.
As people tucked into the charcuterie and the wine flowed, familiar faces found each other at the communal table and conversation flowed. A rather new face in this crowd, I thankfully found I wasn’t the only one as Mr. Papa was left rather unhindered by the attendees. So for the next twenty minutes or so I had a chance learn about Mr. Papa’s craft, Chile’s vineyards’ own troubles with global warming, his almost two decades with Concha y Toro, and even had the chance to enlighten him on our local and oh-so-tiny yet fabulous wine region, the Okanagan Valley.
Before I get to the wines, let me say that a nicer and more relaxed man you won’t meet. Though having confessed to being most at home in the vineyards and cellar, he travels around the world several weeks of the year as brand ambassador for the wines he shepherds from vine to bottle.
Now in his eighteenth year with Concha y Toro, Latin America’s largest wine producer, it would be easy to rest on your laurels. But no, he’s constantly on the move, reacting and refining, now steering especially the Cabs to a more nuanced and restrained profile from the brooding, broad-shouldered wines they used to be.
So let’s take the wines for a swirl…
From the Limari Valley in northern Chile, this lightly oaked single-vineyard Chard delivers vibrant, zesty fruit while maintaining ripeness. With a nice zing of racy acidity uncommon for Chards, it plays well with food but can stand alone as a sipper as well.
Marques de Case Concha Cabernet Sauvignon 2014
From the Maipo Valley, which is renowned for its Cabernets, this is a fresher Cab chock full of cassis and fresh cherries. Juicy but never jammy, the spry tannins make this a structured Cab for the newer generation of palates, and a fab accompaniment for BBQ dinners or winter stews.