Wine Reviews Tasting Notes and Education for the Non-Snob, by Vino Joe, a Certified Specialist of Wine (CSW)

Emiliana Coyam

The 2007 vintage of this wine was originally sent to me by Wines of Chile for their blogger tasting in October; I tasted the 2005 vintage at an “importers seminar” at Puro Chile a few days ago. Both were led by Master Sommelier and Chilean wine expert Fred Dexheimer.

Interestingly, I didn’t realize the other day that I’d tasted the Coyam before. More interestingly, when I compared my notes, they were almost identical — and highly positive. The ’07 is not surprisingly slightly more fresh, but both are juicy, complex, and delicious wine — and one of the best I’ve had from Chile. That’s saying something, considering that my company imports some outstanding wines from De Martino.

The blend is 38% Syrah, 21% Cabernet Sauvignon, 21% Carmenere, 17% Merlot, 2% Petit Verdot, and 1% Mourvedre, all from the Colchagua Valley.

The nose exudes typical Chilean aromas, which to me are similar to earthiness you smell in a classic French Merlot — i.e., distinct green bell pepper, dirt, and tobacco — along with ripe red and black fruits and hint of chocolate. Similar flavors flow on the palate: ripe red and black berries, mild earth notes, hint of chocolate — all held together by ripe tannins and ample acidity. On its own, the tannins and acid are slightly too much, but those elements are ideal when pairing with food; I matched it perfectly with a buffalo burger.

According to the label, “coyam” is a Mapuche term meaning “oak” (the Mapuches were a tribe of peoples native to South America, particularly in Chile and Argentina). However, this wine does not have overwhelming oak influence; on the contrary, there is just enough wood to add a lovely, subtle spice component (I think this is where the chocolate element comes from).

This is a very tasty, complex, well-balanced wine that is best enjoyed with lean protein. Match it with the buffalo burgers that I did, or try it with turkey burgers, mildly spiced chili, bean-based dishes, mild cheeses.

By the way, this is also an organic / biodynamic wine, if you care.

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Comments

  1. Great review and good suggestions about the food pairing. Some of Emiliana’s Novas line is pretty good as well.

  2. Thanks! And thanks for the tip on Nova line — I’ll definitely look for them.

  3. Coyam has been the wine of the year for me (2011). Discovered it at Le Parc Hotel in Quito and have been back 2 weeks in a row to enjoy it…even at $39 restaurant price.
    It’s more of a full body wine and has a much better character than other South American wines.
    I would guess the blend of the different grape helps to create a more balance-mature taste, not the heavy tart, bitterness, or tannin’s found in the South American Region.

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