Posted: Aug 10, 2018
by Andrew Chalk
For some restaurants the house wine is a constantly rotating cheap and forgettable liquid designed to prop up the bottom of the wine list. It is targeted at people who would not otherwise buy wine at all. For others, the house wine is a custom Napa Cabernet Sauvignon selling deep into three figures but just below its non-OEM brethren on the wine list. Such is the case at Nick and Sam’s Steakhouse where the waiters adopt a conspiratorial tone to the cognoscenti among their customers “by the way...our house wine is made by <legendary winemaker name>”, sealing the sale.
Fogo de Chão has just taken a third path: Astutely recognizing that Chile makes some of the best wine values on earth and that ‘the shelves are groaning’TM at retail with hundreds of really good wineries unable to even find a space. That conjunction of circumstances leads to ideal conditions for an agreement with an up-and-coming Chilean winery to sell their wines in the 40+ Fogo de Chão restaurants across the nation. It is astutely done. VIK Wines produces just red wines from Bordeaux and Rhône grapes: Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Carménère, Merlot, and Syrah. The winery was founded in 2004 by Norwegian entrepreneur Alexander Vik and the wine is made by Cristián Vallejo. The estate is 4325 ha (10,813 ac). All wines are blends, aged in French oak, and have scored up to 92/100 points in The Wine Spectator.
At a recent tasting, Cristián paired each with red meat at a Fogo de Chão restaurant and showed how these intensely flavored full-bodied red wines complement prime beef, sirloin, filet mignon, lamb leg and rib. All three come recommended and the markups are reasonable.
The current wines are:*
2012 VIK, Red Blend, Estate, Cachapoal Valley , Chile
Starting at: $21 (3 oz. glass); $40 (6 oz. glass); $158 (bottle)
2013 Milla Cala, Red Blend, Estate, Cachapoal Valley , Chile.
Starting at: $12 (3 oz. glass); $23 (6 oz. glass); $85 (bottle)
*Prices vary by market. The above are the lowest. All wines are available now.
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