The 2011 Mascara de Fuego (Mask of Fire) Cabernet Sauvignon is sourced from several vineyards in the Central Valley of Chile. The Mascara de Fuego line is the entry level brand for Chateau Los Boldos, a family owned wine Estate founded in 1991. Their vineyards are much older, the Cabernet Sauvignon vines were planted in 1948, but I do not know if any of those old vine grapes are included in this bottling. This Cabernet Sauvignon was aged in 50% French and 50% American oak barrels for 6 months. This wine is selling on the web for between $8 to $15, with most priced in the ten buck range. The alcohol content is 13.5%.
The color is a dark, nearly opaque black cherry red with an almost clear halo. The nose is oak spice, menthol, plum, cinnamon and cocoa powder. This is not your typical plump,soft, fruit forward $10 Cabernets you usually see on the shelves. It starts with blackberry, licorice, bitter chocolate, toasty, almost burnt vanilla and tart cranberry. The mid palate shows some soft, but dusty tannins and light touch of blueberries in cream. The tannins do not bite, but are a strong part of the flavor profile and the acidity is nicely balanced. The finish mirrors the mid palate and while not all that strong, never goes away.
The Mascara de Fuego is an unexpected Cabernet Sauvignon, in this age of easy drinking, inexpensive Cabs, the Mascara de Fuego shows its oak influence and tannins, but in an interesting, almost beguiling manner. On first sip, I thought “Where’s the fruit”, but by the 4th or 5th sip, the lack of an abundance of fruit flavors didn’t matter, I was digging what was going on in the glass. Then it hit me, the 2011 Mascara de Fuego Cabernet Sauvignon is a “drink it now” Cabernet for folks who love aged Cabernet Sauvignon, but who’s pocketbook says take it easy on the expensive stuff. As for pairings, toss a couple of aged steaks on the grill, along with some cheesy potatoes, fix up a good salad and do the old school Steakhouse thing.