Going on 15 years now, Chile has been my “go to” for unearthing great wine values. A long time ago I discovered Casa Lapostolle’s “Cuvee Alexandre” line of wines, finding the Merlot particularly enjoyable — and fairly easy on the wallet. That said, when I happened upon this “Casa” Cabernet Sauvignon, my expectations were high — and I wasn’t disappointed.
If you went through Spanish 101 — or at least knew someone who had — then you know “casa” means “house.” My guess, then, is that the “Casa” line from Lapostolle refers to what they believe are “house wines.” If so, the moniker fits. For me, this supple, earthy, yet easy drinking Cab is a wine that I’d be very comfortable serving as my “house wine” (if such a thing existed under my roof).
On the nose you get typical Cabernet aromas: black berry, earth, some leather and tobacco. In the mouth the berry fruit is plump but just shy of “jammy,” and is well-balanced by ample acidity and mild tannins. There is a hint of vanilla sweetness that Americans love, which makes it appealing on its own, yet thankfully doesn’t get in the way of food matching. I successfully paired it with simply broiled filet mignon, and to me, the meat brought out the juicy fruit of the wine — I enjoyed it much more next to my plate than I did after my last bite.
These days, many “new world” Cabernet Sauvignons taste like they can be from anywhere, formulated in a laboratory of micro-oxygenation and oak chips. Thankfully, this Cab retains a sense of place. No, it doesn’t scream Rapel Valley (what does?), but if it were part of a blind tasting, I’m fairly confident I’d identify as Chilean. Perhaps that’s due to the touch (6%) of Carmenere and the slight hint of brooding Petit Verdot (1%) that helps fill out the blend (the wine is 89% Cabernet Sauvignon; bits of Cabernet Franc and Syrah also are involved). In short, this is what Cabernet from Chile is supposed to taste like. And at under ten bucks, it’s a steal, and the fact it comes with an easily resealable screwcap makes it all the more appealing. Pick up a bottle — or three — for your “house.”
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Disclosure: At the end of a wine tasting that shall remain nameless to protect the innocent, this was three-quarters of a leftover bottle gifted to me by a generous brand rep. No wines shall go to waste!