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This Chilean carmenère is made on a coolish spot for this variety to make a more drinkable style. This is an intensely flavoured wine with a ripe yet fresh palate of black fruit and notes of clove and black pepper.
Product Code: CE11231
View all products by Viña Koyle
Koyle is the new project of the Undurraga family (Max, accounts, Alfonso, sales and Cristobal, viticulture and winemaking), who have sold the company that bears their name and bought a lovely estate near Los Lingues, called Viña Koyle, in Alto Colchagua to make, principally, fine red wines. They planted 50 ha in 2006/7 (cabernet sauvignon, carmenère, syrah, malbec, petit verdot, mourvèdre, tempranillo) and a further 30 ha in 2010 (cabernet franc, merlot, carignan, grenache, sangiovese and petit syrah) totalling thirteen varieties. The vineyards are at the base of some hills at 400-550m altitude in quite a windy situation, particularly in summer, where the maximum average temperature in the hottest month is about 26ºC. Annual rainfall is between 500-700mm and may allow some vineyard blocks to be “dry farmed” once the young vines have established deep roots. The soil is red clay over friable granite soils. The vineyard faces north-west and is divided into three terraces. The bottom terrace has more clay and alluvial soils, while the middle and upper ones have decreasing proportions of clay and increasing amounts of stones and friable granite. The altitude gives a 2ºC difference in temperature. The vineyard is currently undergoing a transformation to biodynamic viticulture. There is huge potential to make lovely wines here; Cristobal, who lives in a house built on the property, has a real feeling for vineyards and viticulture and is also a very experienced winemaker, having worked in Australia at Rosemount with Phillip Shaw, in Bordeaux at Château Margaux with Paul Pontallier and in Mendoza for Kaiken with Aurelio Montes. The early stars have been carmenère and mourvèdre. One can sense great quality potential here.
The Spanish conquerors introduced vinifera vines to Chile, and with them the establishment of vineyards for winemaking, in the middle of the 16th century, and the area around the capital Santiago has a history of winemaking stretching back nearly four and a half centuries. By the middle of the 19th century the Chilean wine industry was well established, but was making fairly rustic fare and it was a well-travelled local called Silvestre Ochagavia Echazzarreta who, in 1851, brought a French winemaker and a cargo of vine cuttings back from his travels to France and set a new era in motion.Robust domestic consumption kept demand, and tax revenue, high in the 20th century until domestic drinkers turned away in the 1970s and 1980s and many vineyards were pulled during the unsettling political upheavals of the former decade. The return of democracy stimulated investment and growth and a forward thinking, export oriented industry pointed to a brighter future.Quality begins, absolutely in the vineyard. In the last ten years Chile has begun to plant vineyards not just by matching variety and climate, which it has done very well up to now, but by mapping and analysing soils before planting. This new generation of soil-mapped vineyards planted in the last decade, with higher density, rootstocks and drip irrigation, or no irrigation, is now just starting to bear fruit and will revolutionise the quality of Chilean wines.Chile became first known for its cheap cabernets and merlots made from high yields in the fertile, warm, flat, flood-irrigated Central Valley. However, Chile is no longer a cheap country to buy from. Its economy is based on copper. It is the world's largest producer. Booming demand from China has seen its currency, the peso, strengthen, much like the Australian dollar which has been buoyed by its mineral resources. Labour for the wine industry is becoming more expensive and scarcer as it has to compete with the highly profitable mining industry which can afford to pay more. Energy costs have risen rapidly. It is estimated that half the vineyard area of Chile, about 62,500ha, is less than 15 years old. It probably takes 8-20 years to pay back a vineyard, and about 30 for a bodega. In Spain one can buy lovely 60-year-old-vine garnacha from co-operatives in Calatayud or Navarra at very cheap prices. The capital costs of the vineyard and winery have long been absorbed and the old vines offer lovely quality too.There are massive viticultural possibilities. This remarkable 3,000-mile-long country includes all the world's climates apart from sub-tropical and tropical. Grape varieties need different climates to prosper and Chile can accommodate them all.Many of Chile's cheap wines came from the flat, fertile and warm Central Valley, ideal for ripening large crops of very good entry-level wines. Before the advent of drip irrigation only these flat vineyards were suitable for flood irrigation. However, these flat lands were also situated in a warm climate and had fertile soils. The availability of drip irrigation allowed the planting of the cooler and less fertile south facing slopes, and availability of rootstocks allowed a greater diversity of soils to be planted.From Elqui in the north to Rapel in the middle of the country the rainfall increases from 90mm to 550mm. This lack of rainfall means Chile is free from most fungal diseases and has some of the healthiest grapes in the world. Water reserves from snow in the Andes, and the advent of drip irrigation (a vine needs about 700mm a year to survive) has allowed cool south-facing slopes, with less fertile soils, to be cultivated and yields controlled. From Maule down to Bío-Bío rainfall increases from 550 to 1,500mm and there are many unirrigated vineyards here.As well as the north to south dynamic, there is also a huge temperature variation east to west. Dr Richard Smart, a viticulture guru, says that to combat global warming viticulturists should head to the mountains or to the coast. Chile has both. More vineyards are being planted in the Andes mountains up to 2,000m, where average temperature decreases by 0.6°C with every 100 metres of altitude. The coast, cooled by the 14°C Pacific Ocean, has spawned a remarkable recent growth in vineyards. First came Casablanca (1982), then Leyda (1998), swiftly followed by Limarí (2005), Elqui, Aconcagua and Rapel. In between, the Central Valley and its offshoots like Apalta and Peumo are much warmer and are typically ideal for carmenère, and the southern Rhône varieties which are starting to appear, or for ripening large crops of cabernet and merlot to make cheaper wines.If Chile has successfully understood the matching of climate with grape variety, what it did not do, until recently, other than by accident, was to match the climate and variety with the right soil. There has been a step change in the quality of vineyards planted in the last 10 years or so. Knowledge about the soil following scientific analysis, appropriate planting density, choice of rootstocks, excellent clonal and massale selections of grape varieties, ability to plant cooler and less fertile south-facing slopes with the advent of drip irrigation (flood irrigation can only cope with virtually flat land) have all conspired to revolutionise the quality of vineyards planted in the past decade or so.For a more detailed examination of Chile and its regions please go to our How To Buy Chile section of our web site.
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"I like Carmenère so when i saw that the Society were offering an Exhibition level Carmenère I bought six bottles. The first of these, drunk a fortnight ago, was everything i'd hoped for: rich fruit with just the right level of acidity for balance making it a harmonious and very pleasurable drinking experience. However when we opened the second bottle this evening we were in for a real disappointment; not that the wine was corked, it wasn't. But it was thin and acidic : and wherever was the fruit? I know you can get some variation between one bottle and the next but this was beyond a joke."
Mr Michael J Webber (01-Aug-2020)
"Black berried fruit with juicy acidity and a cedary edge. Lovely."
Mr Colin Hewson (19-Jul-2020)
"One of my go to wines- smooth, moorish and surprisingly good with curry and spicy foods- or is that just my bizarre taste buds?"
Mr Timothy H McAdam (24-Apr-2020)
"Nasty chemical taste, not at all what I expect from this kind of wine. Really tasted as if some chemical from cleaning processes contaminated the wine. So unpleasant that I poured the wine down the drain. "
Dr Peter Richardson (06-Feb-2020)
"This is a very polished wine – not oaky, but still very smooth. 3.5 stars, if I could do that. It’s not especially complex in flavour – a French wine drinker would miss the terroir – but it’s very easy to enjoy. We had it with a lasagne, but I imagine it would be fine without food too."
Professor Stephen Babbage (06-Jan-2020)
"Oh dear. Not to my taste at all. Flat, insipid, dull, uninspiring. Sometimes one one ventures into new territory to be hugely disappointed, A grape that I will avoid in future"
Mr Anthony J Kinahan (11-Dec-2019)
"Dry and full bodied. Cigar, cedar, cinnamon and dark chocolate hues. Hints of blackberry and juniper. "
Mr Terence Witzmann (30-Oct-2019)
"This is a big, smooth, characterful wine. Shoot me down if you like, but it seems to have everything I long for, but rarely experience in Bordeaux. You cannot go wrong at this price. This is the kind of wine I joined the society to access."
Mr Christopher Winter (07-Jul-2019)
"Smooth, woody, plums, spicy finish"
Mr Matthew Utting (22-Jul-2020)
"Colour: Rich dark cherry with a ruby rim.
Aroma: Med-intensity, herbaceous and peppery, tobacco, ripe black forest fruits and plums.
Taste: Full, bold and unctuous yet feels mellow with fine-grained well-integrated tannin. Smooth chocolate and strong coffee fuelled palate, moderate smoky finish.
Overall: Very green/vegetal with the fruit playing only a secondary role. Big, round and harmonious but all in such an understated way as it comes across as soft, savoury and well-structured. Good value and certainly recommend."
Mr Gabriel Higgins (10-Nov-2019)
"I have to disagree with the relatively poor reviews of this wine. I really liked it. Lovely dark colour and tasting of black cherries and cloves with a hint of sweetness it went perfectly with Iberico pork. It even handled a starter with a little chilli. I think the 2025 drink by date is probably pushing it given the quite low tannins already present. It still has low acidity which means its very smooth and perfectly aged right now (late 2018). For the price a real bargain."
Mr Richard Hadfield (17-Sep-2018)
"I bough two bottles of this wine. The first I opened in early summer and was very disappointed with the quality. I left it a couple of months and last night opened the second bottle, left it to stand for a couple of hours and ate it with Spag Bol. The nose was disappointing, a bit rough to be honest, and I'm sorry to say the flavour was the same. If it was a fiver I would maybe have said oh well worth a try, but to sell as an Exhibition wine at £12 is way off the mark.
I think the Society has got it wrong with this one, it certainly should not have the exhibition label on the bottle."
Mr Colin Dartnell (11-Sep-2018)
"Opened the Exhibition Carminere yesterday as I’ll be out Thursday. I’m writing this Wednesday but post Thursday.
It’s a deep red, throws a few legs down the glass, clearly a big and young wine. The nose has a chemical edge which I don’t like but it very much background to the plum/damson and chocolate.
Simple plum and damson palette, but there’s the typical variety greenness peeking in. Finish is hot. It’s a bit young for now and needs food. Will this age and improve, probably no more that a couple of years.
For me the greeness stays with you for so long that it’s off putting. A well made wine which may have great appeal but not a rebuy for me.
This is my review from the community tasting event on the society's forum. Many more views over there. Link at top of this page.
Mr Russell Sainty (08-May-2018)
Mr Richard Simon (06-May-2018)
Rotherham Advertiser (16th Jun 2019)
"… has intense
flavours of black fruit with some black pepper. - David Clay"
Knackered Mothers Wine Club (11th Apr 2018)
"The Exhibition range
from The Wine Society is full of reasonably priced gems like this one. This is
made from the Carmenère grape grown in a cool spot in Chile’s Colchagua Valley.
It’s made by the Undurraga family (a big name in Chilean winemaking) but under
their new project, Koyle. Big, bold and juicy with bright, bramble fruits, one
glass of this and suddenly that mountain of holiday washing didn’t seem quite
so bad. - Helen McGinn"
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