It was fun catching up with Cristobal Undurraga Marimon last night at Sparks Steak House to try some of his recent wines. He’s a super vivacious guy who fits in quite well with the “wine geeks” in NYC in terms of being very up to date about all the different possibilities and variations with lees work and maturation.
The family of Cristobal Undurraga Marimon are regarded as“the pioneers” as they were among the first in the 1980s to bring the these wines to the attention of the world.
After receiving a degree in Agricultural Engineering and Enology from UC-Chile, Cristobal left his homeland to learn about winemaking in some of the most famous vineyards in the world, including Bordeaux, France (at Chateau Margaux in 2002), Barossa Valley, Australia (Rosemont Estates, also in 2002) and Napa Valley, California (Franciscan Estates in 2001) which probably explains his fabulous English.
In 2003, Cristobal Undurraga Marimon found himself in Mendoza, Argentina, as Lead Enologist for Vina Kaiken, a position he held until 2007 when his father, two brothers and sister asked him to return to Chile to oversee the vineyards and winemaking for a new project called Koyle … the first new wine label to be released from the Undurraga family since the family sold the vineyards, winery and family label in 2006.
Now Cristobal Undurraga Marimon is co-owner and technical director of Koyle Winery.
Of course the highlight of the evening was the very high end Koyle Gran Reserva 2010 – a blend of 37% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Carmenere, 18% Malbec, 13% Syrah and 7% Petite Verdot (at about 3 tonnes per acre)
The younger wines were also very good:
Koyle Gran Reserva Carmenere 2014: with 10% Tempranillo, 5% Petit Verdot
Koyle Royale Carmenere 2013: with 8% Cabernet Franc, 7% Petit Verdot
Koyle Costa Pinot Noir 2014: Very soft, savory, and delicious
Koyle Gran Reserva Cabernet Sauvigno 2014: Powerful and structured
Koyle Costa Sauvignon Blanc 2015: Crisp and refreshing
Koyle Royale Cabernet Sauvignon 2013: with 8% Malbec, 3% Cabernet Franc, 2% Petite Verdot
As fabulous and reasonably priced as (most) of the wines were, my favorite part of the tasting was having a conversation with Cristobal. He’s a “winemaker’s winemaker” in the sense that he likes to try new techniques to get the best quality possible, such as using concrete eggs to keep the lees in suspension and thus create a richer wine – at least in terms of Sauvignon Blanc, which also matures in stainless steel and cement.
There’s a lot of choices when it comes to wine from Chile, and with the Koyle label, you really do get a very high quality wine for the value.
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