Wines to Watch

by Liz Caskey on June 9, 2011

Kingston Family Vineyards, Casablanca, Chile

A lot of you have been asking about the wines used during our events and tastings on my US road show in May. This post is going to profile a couple of those select producers that are boutique in size but high in quality and uniqueness. You can find these in the US now and they are worth seeking out.  The common denominator? Besides quality, these wines have personality, depth and a kick butt price-quality ratio.  But don’t just take my word for it, try them for yourself.

Kingston Family Vineyards: Kingston Family Vineyards is one of my favorite family-owned small wineries in South America and Chile. The uniqueness of their wines is inspiring. Located in a chilly western corner of the Casablanca Valley, they handcraft Pinot Noir, Northern Rhone-style Syrah and Sauvignon Blanc in addition to growing some of the best (and most in-demand) grapes in the region. While the coastal Casablanca region is known for its white wines, Kingston was one of the first to pioneer the production of cool-climate, artisan-style reds.

The vines at Kingston Family Vineyards

I love the story of the Kingston Family, who first came to Chile in the early 1900’s looking for copper and gold.  They acquired a 7,500-acre ranch with a herd of cattle, but no gold.  In 1994, Courtney Kingston and her brother Tim came up with the far-fetched idea to plant a vineyard on the family’s farm in Casablanca, Chile while pursuing an MBA at Stanford Business School.  Not so far-fetched now.  Kingston consults with Napa-based consultant Byron Kosuge and honestly, the wines keep getting better every year.  Stephen Tanzer just gave most of their wines 90+ points. I personally love Cariblanco (Sauvignon Blanc), Alazán (Pinot Noir) and BayoOscuro (Syrah). The best part is for those of you in the US, they have a mail order club, similar to many California wineries so they can ship to your front door. Check out their website to sign up.

Harvest at Polkura

Polkura:  These guys LOVE Syrah. Sven Bruchfeldand and his college buddy Gonzalo Muñoz teamed up in this tiny, inspiration project to produce world-class, Mediterranean Syrah in the western reaches of Colchagua. It’s no coincidence it’s Syrah.  Sven spent time working in the south of France and became enamored with the grape.  In 2002, they found the land that would give birth to their project with poor, old volcanic soils. Polkura in Mapundungun (Mapuche language) refers to the yellow stone found in large amounts on the property as yellow granite. It gives the wine a marked minerality, while the clay gives structure and depth. Part of MOVI, the garage winery movement in Chile, and despite its young history, Polkura is hitting hard.  The wine made the Top 100 in Wine Spectator (no. 89) in 2011 and earned more than 90 points from Robert Parker.  Besides the Polkura Syrah, Sven makes small lots of his delicious G + I from special parcels with a touch of Viognier, a sultry Malbec, and zesty Aylin Sauvignon Blanc. Above all, the wines are deep and speak of his passion. You feel that they have something to say. Sven is super social media savvy and has harvest videos online so you can join him. Polkura is not easy to find in the US since allocations are small, but it’s possible. Drop us a line for their distributor/importer information in New York Wine Markets. Worth finding, I promise.

Polkura, Colchagua, Chile

{ 1 comment }

The Thorny Rose June 14, 2011 at 11:46 am

Wow, gorgeous photos!

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