Friday, 10 May 2013

Liquid Lunch: Casillero del Diablo - More Versatile Than You'd Think?

Casillero del Diablo has been a supermarket failsafe for some years now, but to most people it's remained just that: a bottle you'll pick up for a party, but not something you'd consider as an ideal food match, or particularly special.

Recently, they sent us three bottles of their wine to try - how lovely of them, eh? They even took the time to suggest several food matches, so we took them at their word and put them all to the test. That's right: we had a liquid lunch, because WHY NOT?

Here's what we thought:

Sparkling: Casillero del Diablo Sparkling Chardonnay Brut, £9.99 at Ocado (also at Waitrose)
Recommended food matches: crab with lemon creme fraiche, smoke salmon, and other canapes

Firstly: this is a jolly good sipping wine. Without the biscuity finesse of a traditional method sparkler (like Champagne or Cremant de Loire) we thought this had the crisp freshness of a Prosecco but with added roundness from the hint of oak ageing. Lots of citrus and baked apple flavour, we were impressed with this, although we think perhaps a fair price rather than 'good value'. Another bonus is it's Chilean - we just don't see enough Chilean sparkling here!
Food match: We really enjoyed it with our crab, but felt it wasn't biting enough for the smoked salmon. We also tried it with goat's cheese and a tuna and bean salad, and it was more pleasant with them.

White: Casillero del Diablo Pinot Grigio, £7.99 at Tesco, plus Waitrose and Ocado, but also currently £5.99 a bottle when you buy two at Majestic
Recommended food match: goat's cheese, tomato, feta cheese and salad. 

This isn't your average supermarket pinot grigio. It has delicious lime and pear character, but also has a weight and texture that many cheap examples of this grape lack. We actually really enjoyed it, although we worried if fell a little flabby on the palate, so we're not sure we'd drink it on its own.
Food matches: With the tomatoes, it was sublime - a rare treat in a wine. We're not sure it had enough acidity to accompany the goat's cheese or feta, but we also tried it with some of the crab from earlier and it was delicious!

Red: Casillero del Diablo Carmenere, £7.99 at Sainsbury's (or £8 at ASDA)
Recommended food match: chilli con carne with dark chocolate, tomato and parmesan pasta bake

Now this was an ace find. We just loved it - smooth, chocolate-mocha aromas, and a juicy, silky palate full of dark cherry fruit and gentle spice. We happily sipped this whilst chatting amongst ourselves and it disappeared remarkably quickly. 
Food matches: It was also a real hit with the food, both soothing the spice of the chilli and wrapping itself around the pasta sauce, making it tangier and softer. We also decided it would have been a great match for lamb chops or a fiery barbecue feast. An absolute steal. 

All in all, we were really quite chuffed with our findings. We think maybe some of the food matches were a little ambitious, but we would definitely take these wines more seriously now we've seen what they can do.

What are your opinions on Casillero del Diablo? Let us know in the comments.

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