This 17 year-old wine had 14% alcohol. The 2004 Marques Casa Concha Merlot from Concha y Toro in Chile cost $22. It showed blueberry, smoke, spice and plum on the nose with soft tannin and a well-balanced body. It was at or very near its peak and as a great food wine, it scored 16+ points on the 20-point Dionysian scale.

Served with a dinner of seared steak tips with wild rice and peas and corn,

This is a smart buy. It’s as good as many, no most, $50 to $90 merlot-based reds. It was dry and clean unlike too many California Merlots. Chile has this one down to perfection. I visited Conchay y Toro on my last wine tour to Chile and loved the winery and its location. In Vino Veritas.