Casillero del Diablo is the perfect wine for people who sort of give a shit about wine
It even wins over the experts
There’s a kind of wine you want to buy to appear more classy, like you look like you know what you’re doing. Not quite a wine snob but far from an amateur too. Something just above the usual bottles you’d buy. Deep and velvety, because dinner party conversation always flows better with red wine lips.
Enter Casillero Del Diabo. It’s an obvious step up from the sweet Blossom Hill of the youth and the flowing Lidl special Chianti you drink at home on a Tuesday night.
Its Cabernet Sauvignon is the best. It’s dark, deep red and juicy – with a delicate flavour of berries, if you’re describing it to your friends. It’s nicer than the Merlot and so much better than any white you’d find in any line.
And it even wins over some of the wine experts who want something cheaper. Fergus Stewart, private account manager at London wine merchants Berry Bros & Rudd’s explain, “it’s made in big volumes but it’s a wine at that kind of price which is easily available and certainly ticks a lot of boxes. I would say it’s a good readily available entry-level wine which is of decent quality for its type.”
Incidentally, if you’re looking for status, always pick red (whatever the brand). “There’s possibly a preconception that red is smarter.”
A few facts about Diablo. It’s owned by Concha y Toro, which claims to be second biggest wine company in the world. They have 10,750 hectares of vineyards in Chile and make a massive 42 million bottles out of it, a third of which are sold in the UK. It’s done well because it’s consistent, reliable and because it’s “very strongly influenced by the UK palate” if you believe Marcelo Papa, the man in charge of the brand. Their wine is crazy big business and we’ve become sympathetic to the devil.
For the zany logo is a big part of it: that angry-looking devil on the side of the bottle. The phrase means “cellar of the devil”, which deters devout Christians repulsed by the face of Satan (this actually happened at a party I went to at university) and bridges connections with Manchester United (they actually made a special vintage for the Red Devils). And always there for us on the special offer racks in the supermarket. According to Fergus, “that’s the price it should be, rather than the inflated one they put out before”.
“I always thought their red wine was quite nice and smooth,” says Cat Reid, 22. “Cheap red wines taste nicer than cheap white, so I wouldn’t go out to buy their white wine specifically, but I’d always buy their red.”
Designer Lauren Victoria was far more positive about Diablo. “Honestly I think the Cabernet Sauvignon is really good. It’s got a lot of flavour and it’s not too sharp like a lot of reds can be. I would take it to a dinner party.”
“Casillero del Diablo are wines that are consistently decent quality and are good representations of their grape varieties,” explains Miles MacInnes, sales and marketing director at Jascots, a specialist wine supplier. “To impress and take something that’s a bit less obvious, it’s a great idea to ask what’s for dinner and specifically find a wine to match. You don’t have to spend a fortune to get something great, especially when you steer clear of the really well-known premium regions.” Though curveballs are permitted. “In the last few years Rose has been viewed as a proper wine,” Fergus said, “though historically it was viewed as something you just quaffed on holiday”.