Forcing Wayne Rooney into a humiliating acting performance isn’t the first sign that someone at Casillero del Diablo doesn’t actually like Manchester United all that much. It is, after all, just a few weeks since they somehow convinced Nicky Butt, Bobby Charlton, Bryan Robson and Gary Neville to fly all the way to Chile in order to take part in this photo opportunity.
The alliance between United and Casillero’s parent company Concha y Toro was announced last September with the renowned wine-lover Sir Alex Ferguson trilling: “In football we seek the best young players to develop and form them from their beginnings to making them outstanding Manchester United players. I have seen a similarity with Concha y Toro, which seeks to harvest the best grapes, produce the best wines and have the patience and intelligence to ensure that the end result is perfect,” he said. “Viña Concha y Toro shares these qualities with Manchester United.”
There was no need for Big Al to be quite so creative, however, in the search for similarities between the two companies. The obvious ones: they’re both bloody massive and they win loads of medals.
In their last annual report Concha Y Toro reported that, despite losing quite a bit of wine in last year’s nasty earthquake, global sales hit a new high of 29.2 million cases. That’s comfortably over 350 million bottles of wine, a smidgeon under 263 million litres, nearly 58 million gallons, 9.3 million cubic feet, or enough wine to fill an Olympic swimming pool 105 times with several bottles to spare. The scale of the enterprise is staggering, particularly given that unlike, say, Coca-Cola, their bottles aren’t just filled with a combination of water and chemicals. Particularly mind-boggling given the number of them they churn out is the fact that none of those bottles is filled with irredeemable junk.
In the latest International Wine & Spirit Competition, the London-based winefest that judges wines to see if they’re good enough to carry a nice little sticker which makes Tesco customers more likely to buy them, Casillero del Diablo’s merlot and pinot grigio picked up silver medals, while the cabernet sauvignon, carmenere, malbec and chardonnay all got bronzes. This doesn’t mean that Chateau Lafite needs to get particularly scared, but does show that the Chileans’ reputation for reliable and affordable decency is unsullied. If forced to buy a wine from a shop containing nothing but the global megabrands, their range is the one to turn to. But there’s more to the team than just dependable low-cost wine: the head winemaker Marcelo Papa is also the man behind the premium Maycas del Limari brand, and their Quebrada Seca (£17.95, Wine Direct), £20, The Wine Society; £24.95, Berry Bros is the best Chilean chardonnay and has few peers in the whole of South America.
There’s very little to dislike about them, in short, except for the execrable acting they inflict upon us. Having said that, I think that Ryan Giggs is unexpectedly good, although the role of “footballer worried about losing his place in the side” perhaps doesn’t require a whole lot of acting in his case.
For more wine knowledge check out Cellarfella.com
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