Just a few days after Concha y Toro came in to show me their new small production Carmenère bottling, I met with Viña Santa Ema winemaker Andrés Sanhueza, and Kingston Family owners Courtney and Michael Kingston. Both of these Chilean wineries are looking to break out of the Cabernet-only mold that Chile is stuck in these days.
Kingston is a small operation in the Casablanca Valley, and it's focusing on Pinot Noir and Syrah. California Pinot Noir veteran Byron Kosuge is helping the Kingstons make their wine. You might think Pinot Noir and Chile don't mix - try the wine though. And you might think the cool climate of Casablanca and Syrah don't mix - try the wine though.
As for Santa Ema, it's a large operation in the Rapel Valley with a long history, as opposed to the small, infant Kingston winery further north. Santa Ema is debuting a new high-end wine, called Rivalta, in which Carmenère will take the lead, supported by Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah. There will be 600 cases, and the wine will carry a $70 price tag. It's ambitious, like the CyT project, but try the wine if you can.
Two different wineries - one small, one large - located in two different areas of Chile. They're both trying different things, and in my opinion, the wines are a success. Perhaps there's a groundswell forming to shake things up in Chile (wineries like Viña Casa Marin, Antiyal and Matetic are also in the mix). I'll keep my eyes on it for you. In the meantime, if you come across these wines, let me know what you think.
Robert Gott — Doral/Florida — June 8, 2006 5:09pm ET
Maximiliano Morales — Santiago, Chile — June 8, 2006 8:57pm ET
William Landreth — Irving, TX — June 8, 2006 9:31pm ET
James Molesworth — June 8, 2006 10:20pm ET
James Molesworth — June 8, 2006 10:23pm ET
James Molesworth — June 9, 2006 6:03am ET
Maximiliano Morales — Santiago, Chile — June 9, 2006 5:46pm ET
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