Caballo Loco No 1 – a piece of modern Chilean history


Caballo Loco No 1 – a piece of modern Chilean history

If you buy lots of wine, then it’s common to overlook bottles, only to encounter them in some nook or cranny of the cellar and think, ‘I should have drunk this sooner.’ Then you go into denial, and because you don’t expect the bottle to be any good, you leave it there neglected. Then you think: I’d better try it before dumping it. I did this with a bottle of Chilean wine that I bought for less than £7 a bottle 21 years ago. It’s the Caballo Loco from Valdivieso. In the early days of internet forums on wine, we discussed this quite a bit. It was a very ambitious Chilean wine, imported by Bibendum (in their glory years), and interestingly the wine was made as a blend across vintages. I think it’s now in its 17th incarnation (released), and is a proper solera system. Here’s my note, and I’ve also found a not on wine anorak from 1997!

Valdivieso Caballo Loco Number One NV Lontue, Chile
This is now mature, but still has lovely fruit. It has aromas of undergrowth, dried herbs, red cherries, damsons and some iodine, with a lovely spiciness. The palate is elegant and supple, with a herby edge to the fresh, generous red berry fruit, good acidity and hints of blood and iron. There’s some nice decay here. The acidity is very lively and perhaps sticking out a bit, as with some older Aussie wines, but this has developed beautifully and shows incredible elegance. Such a surprise that it’s drinking so well now – this hadn’t been particularly well stored over the years, but it hasn’t suffered. 94/100

Here’s my note from August 1997 (which reminds me that wineanorak has been going longer than I thought! This is 21 years ago, and this bottle was purchased at the same time).

Caballo Loco No 1, Valdivieso (Safeway, £10.39 down to £6.85!) Drunk August 1997. Blend of Deep Cabernet/Merlot/Malbec from 2 vintages. Chile’s attempt to produce a world-class ageworthy red. red/purple. Full nose of cassis and French oak. Concentrated and complex palate of blackcurrants, red fruits and spicy oak. Powerful tannins and structure indicate that it could go the long haul. It will definitely improve in the next few years. Excellent: the best Chilean red yet? 90/100

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