The Super Bowl is coming and as people continue to shift from viewing the game at a public house to a private house the need for a food friendly beverage at a fair price becomes an important decision. To the rescue comes the 2014 Concha y’ Toro Frontera Cabernet Merlot, a blend of 85% Cabernet Sauvignon and 15% Merlot grapes from the Chile’s Central Valley this a long time favorite of value conscious wine drinkers in Southwest Florida and coincidently is a good fit for the food typically served at Super Bowl parties.
The liquid is a pretty garnet color when viewed through a light; the nose is first a distinct cherry that disappears into a dark berry bouquet. Blackberry and currant dominant a palate that has several other elements making this worth a sip and savor before the swallow. The flavor profile has a surprisingly tart character from open to close which keeps your taste buds on edge and keeps this wine from becoming soft in the mouth. A nice fruity open has a slight cherry note that tying the nose to the palate, after that open the flavor moves into berry fruit displayed in a fading middle followed by a solid and firm backside where a touch of cranberry and char come to the forefront. Chalky tannin frames the fruit in a way that is pleasant and not jarring to the taste buds as the wine moves through your mouth. The close has a lingering essence of flavor finishing off the tasting experience of this fun little party wine.
Personally I enjoyed the Conch y’ Toro Frontera Cab-Merlot much more with food than on its own, I just could not even out the wine and minimize the persistent tartness no matter how much air I “let in” even several days after opening which usually changes the character of the wine considerably. Perhaps it was the bottle I sampled, but it was what it was and after accepting that character I found pleasure in a sipping, not gulping wine without accompaniment by food. After some experimentation, this was a 1.5 liter bottle after all I concluded that a burger or other type of beef, the traditional cracker with cheese plate, think cheddar in particular, pizza and other common snack all day party foods made for a “wow” pairing that brought the food and the wine together to the advantage of both. Your experience may be different, but that difference and comparing with others is part of fun in the world of wine.
You can easily find the 2014 Concha y’ Toro Frontera Cabernet Merlot all over the area. The two big “elephants” for wine buyers ABC Fine Wine and Spirits and Total Wine make it available for a very reasonable price of $8 for the 1.5 liter bottle and you should have little trouble finding elsewhere for $10 or less. Bottom line, this wine has a lot of fans in our area and for a good reason, fruity with “wine character “and soft easy going tannin at a price that you can buy and serve to large numbers at your Super Bowl event or buy and sample with your own meal during the week make this almost the ultimate value wine on our shelves.