Chile can be an excellent country for Cabernet Sauvignon. This one comes from the Central Valley viticultural region, which is Chile's oldest and most traditional wine producing area. That region is divided into four areas, including the Maule Valley, which is not particularly distinguished, perhaps not surprising given this wine's modest price tag. In a way it is less expensive than at first glance because it's kosher, and kosher wine production and distribution inevitably involves additional costs. By now you probably know that kosher wines are not always super sweet. This wine is dry. The bottle's back label states that it was produced by Vina Carta Vieja, a seventh-generation family winery whose first vineyards were planted in 1825. But a trip to their bilingual website did not turn up any indication whatsoever of this wine. Please excuse me for not calling them (I don't speak Spanish) to confirm or deny its parentage.
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Don Alfonso Cabernet Sauvignon (V) 2009 12.5% alcohol about $10 Let's start by quoting the marketing materials. Description : A complex Cabernet filled with aromas of blackberry, cherry and black olive. Dry, ripely fruity with subtle oak notes, no tannins to speak of, but nicely balanced, nonetheless. Medium long, lush and smooth finish. Grilled steak is called for. And now for my review.
At the first sips of this wine I got oak and dark fruit but the wine faded rather quickly. Its first pairing was with slow cooked beef ribs with potatoes in a savory sauce. This Cab was chewy and mouth filling. It was hearty and tasted of black licorice.
The next meal was a boxed eggplant parmiagana which I slathered with grated parmesan cheese. Here the Cabernet Sauvignon showed light acidity and lots of oak. There were barely perceptible round tannins and some black cherry, tobacco, and chocolate. The wine was refreshing but not powerful.
My final meal was beef stew with chickpeas. The wine was woody with dark black cherries. It presented a good balance between the tannins and acidity.
Prior to the traditional two cheeses I enjoyed some schmaltz herring in oil instead of the more common vinegar preparation. The Cab tasted of black cherries and was slightly sweet with some oak. When paired with a local Provolone, the wine was slightly harsh presenting light acidity and black cherries. With a tastier Swiss, the wine was round but not very forceful.
Final verdict. This is definitely a wine worth buying again. Not all its pairings were fine, but many of them were and the price was right, even more so if you are looking for kosher wine. Many people will appreciate the relative lack of tannins, which is rather unusual for a Cabernet Sauvignon.