Emiliana Vineyards Coyam Colchagua Valley 2009

coyam There are winemakers who think they have no responsibility except to make a good wine. I suppose if you are a winemaker that is your first responsibility. But it is becoming increasingly evident that the future belongs to those who recognize that we have to take responsibility for the resources we use, both natural and human. If you believe that fine wine is one of life’s rare treasures and thus wish it to endure, that wish can become reality only by being careful stewards of the natural and human resources that make it possible.

I don’t have any independent knowledge of Emiliana’s business practices but their marketing materials put commitment to corporate responsibility and environmental stewardship at the center of their mission, using organic, and biodynamically-farmed grapes.

Thus, we can hope that as we sip this very fine wine we are tasting, if only metaphorically, the wine of the future.

The Coyam, with grapes sourced from Chile’s Colcahagua Valley, is a blend of Syrah (41%) and Carmenere (29%), with minor percentages of Cabernet, Mourvedre, and Petit Verdot. Aromas of blackberry, red fruit, and black pepper are kissed by persistent coffee notes against a layered background of loam and dust. Coyam means “oak” in one of the native languages of Chile, and the oak (13 months in 80% French oak) has been deployed beautifully here, purposeful yet restrained. Even folks weary of excessive wood will find this quite well done.

The palate is very dark and concentrated evolving from blackberry to licorice. Well-structured with plenty of acidity to keep flavors bright, the most impressive aspect of this wine is its full and persistent mid-palate. The flavors seem to grow and clarify as the evolution proceeds leading to a medium length finish with soft, pleasant tannins. 14.5% alcohol.

A generous wine with stamina on the palate. At an average price of $29 this is a very good value. Ready to drink now but will age 3-5 years.

Good: Pleasing oak-derived complexity

Bad: Not much grip on the finish

Distinctive: Interesting blend of Syrah and Carmenere

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