Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Coyam by Emiliana Organic Vineyards


Noelia Orts
 I had the opportunity to meet Coyam's resident winemaker, Noelia Orts, last week while she was in Houston hosting a tasting and lunch at Masraff's. Originally from Spain, Noelia worked for wineries there and in New Zealand before heading to Chile for the 2009 vintage. She began working for the Emiliana family shortly thereafter along with consultant winemaker, Alvaro Espinoza. Noelia talked about the vineyard and her feelings of responsibility not only to help create great wine but to help enhance the lives of the workers and the people that are involved in every facet of the vineyard and winery life.

Going organic and biodynamic not only means less chemicals, it means more work. This work requires more people for the manual labor. This labor includes planting multi-colored flower beds every five rows to draw insect attention away from the vines, it involves tilling lentils into the soil to release nitrogen organically, it means moving animals and chicken houses around for fertilization and to control insects. Noelia talked about teaching organic gardening and beekeeping to workers and other efforts taken by the winery to help uplift the surrounding community. She has felt this sense of responsibility to the people even more strongly since the earthquake in 2010 when she witnessed the spirit of the Chilean people as they worked to persevere and move forward in spite of the trying circumstances.

Regarding the wine, Noelia stated that the philosophy about the wine making comes from Alvaro Espinoza who told her, they were "not making Coca-cola", they wanted to express the year. The wine is produced in a state of the art gravity controlled winery using natural fermentations with mostly French oak barrels and they bottle on site. Each year the blend is different, there is no set recipe, the wine is a blend of the best that the year had to offer.

The Tasting: 
  • 2013 barrel sample- Clean, ripe black fruit, bit of spice and earth, dry, a bit astringent, good acidity, balanced alcohol. This vintage involved a mild winter with rain during fruit set.
  • 2010 Coyam (38% Syrah, 27% Carmenere, 21% Merlot, 12% Cabernet Sauvignon, 1% Mourvedere and 1% Petit Verdot) - This wine has aromas and flavors of ripe raspberry and plum with sage and a touch of graphite, it is full bodied with moderate slightly grippy tannins, clean acidity and a long herbal-laced red fruit finish. This was a colder than average year with heavier than normal spring rainfall, the warm, dry summer led to concentrated aromas and colors in the fruit and in the wine. 
  • 2007 Coyam (38% Syrah, 21% Carmenere, 21% Cabernet Sauvignon, 17%  Merlot, 2% Petit Verdot and 1% Mourvedre)- Similar to the 2010 vintage but bigger, more tannic.
  • 2004 Coyam (37% Syrah, 34% Carmenere, 14% Merlot, 13% Cabernet Sauvignon and 2% Mourvedere)- Rich, ripe plum, spice and earth. Balanced and smooth.
  • 2001 Coyam (36% Merlot, 21% Carmenere, 21% Cabernet Sauvignon, 18% Syrah and 4% Mourvedere) - Good vintage, however very little of this was made. Holding up well, leather, dried fruit and spice. 
  • 2007 Ge (60% Syrah, 21% Carmenere and 18% Cabernet Sauvignon) The name is Greek for Earth and the bottle depicts the moon, the sun and plants, a nod to each and the role that it plays in the making of the wine. Clean ripe aromas of red cherries and blackberries with a graphite minerality, light earthiness and bit of spice in the lengthy finish, full bodied and well-balanced. SRP $100.
The 2010 Coyam is now available at HEB, Spec's and Costco with a suggested retail price of $29.99. It is created from biodynamically grown grapes from Chile's Colchagua Valley. Recommended.