Los Vascos: my iconic wine revisited

Los Vascos label (2)

I have much affection for Los Vascos Cabernet Sauvignon. It was the first wine I learned to seek out for everyday drinking once wine for me graduated from an object of mindless enjoyment to a matter for study and appreciation (see My iconic wine).

But that was some two decades and countless interesting wines ago, and I hadn’t tasted this Chilean classic in several years. Would I still enjoy it?

With some ceremony and great mindfulness – as I wanted to document every detail of the experience for you, dear reader – I opened and served a bottle of the 2011 vintage two nights ago. I’d picked it up at my neighborhood supermarket (Los Vascos is ubiquitous) for the lowest price I’d seen locally ($8.99). I paired it with a pan of bean and chicken enchiladas in mole sauce I’d made that afternoon. Jeff, my frequent partner in wine discoveries, and I compared notes as we went along.

First, pull the (synthetic) cork: it popped nicely. Next swirl, sniff, swirl, repeat: the nose was redolent of earth and pepper. Finally, sip: honestly, the first taste disappointed. While the color was dark ruby, the wine tasted thin and a bit too alcoholic. (This vintage is 14% alcohol.)

But as dinner progressed, the wine transformed into a smoother, deeper pour – proving that even fairly simple wines benefit from the modest oxidation that comes with drinking a bottle in one sitting. (I note that Lafite’s website advises decanting this wine for one hour.) And it complemented the food beautifully.

This least-expensive Cabernet offering of the Domaines Barons de Rothschild’s Chilean estate remains a great value after all these years. My affection is undimmed.

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