Last week, Christopher Issa and the Spanish Court Hotel, in association with the Embassy of Chile, Caribbean Producers Jamaica (CPJ), ProChile and Copa Airlines, hosted Corporate Chef of the Culinary Institute of Santiago, Chile Juan Pablo Mellado for a series of dinners.
Chef Mellado was in Jamaica to promote the Chilean culinary lifestyle and to show how Chileans prepare and eat the very same products that are imported here from that country. Chef Mellado has been on a mission to introduce Chilean cuisine and train students to become ambassadors for Chilean products and preparations both within Chile and overseas.
Chile's main export to Jamaica is wine of course, so local importer/distributor CPJ supported the event with wines from their Concho y Toro portfolio. Vina Concha y Toro was established in 1883, when Don Melchor de Concha y Toro and his wife, Dona Emiliana Subercaseaux, brought to Chile the noblest grapevines of the Bordeaux region of France. Four wines from their portfolio were used in the dinners, two from the Marqués de Casa Concha family and two from the Casillero del Diablo family.
Marqués de Casa Concha
Wines from the Marqués de Casa Concha portfolio are all Concha y Toro classics. These wines bear the title conferred upon the Concha y Toro family in 1718 by King Felipe V of Spain. The wines are single-vineyard, estate-bottled wines made in limited production with grapes grown in the prime vineyards of the Central Valley. Marqués de Casa Concha wines rank among the world's finest.
Served with the lamb, the Marqués de Casa Concha Carmenere is an exceptional deep, dark red wine showcasing intense aromas of ripe black fruit coupled with spicy black pepper. On the palate, the wine is voluptuous with flavours of blackberry, dark chocolate and hints of vanilla from the oak.
A rather interesting pairing with the 2007 Marqués de Casa Concha Cabernet Sauvignon was with the salmon. Marqués de Casa Concha Cabernet Sauvignon is dark ruby red in colour with luscious aromas of cherry and blackberries. These notes follow through to the palate. Tremendously concentrated flavours are revealed in firm tannins with a soft, silky texture and a lingering finish. The wine might have been a bit big for the salmon, but it did not overpower it.
Casillero del Diablo
In the 19th century, the founder of Concha y Toro, Don Melchor, discovered that his vineyard workers were sampling his greatest wines. To discourage them, he spread the rumour that his deepest, darkest cellar was the Casillero del Diablo (Cellar of the Devil). The rumour worked, and a legend was born. Today, Casillero del Diablo continues to be the most sought-after and most-loved reserve wine from Chile. The Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc were served with the first two courses.
I leave you with food for thought: Wouldn't it be great for Jamaica to begin supporting our local cuisine and chefs in a similar manner?
Chris Reckord — Entrepreneur & Wine Enthusiast. Send your questions and comments to email@example.com. Follow us on Twitter: @DeVineWines @Reckord