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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  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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