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Today on The Tasting Room with Wine Guy Mike, my special guest is Courtney Kingston, owner of Kingston Vineyards located in the Casablanca Valley of Chile. Kingston Vineyards is situated in the Western Hills of the Casablanca Valley in Chile.
Chile is a very narrow country that is 2600 miles in length from North to South. At its widest point though it is only 100 miles wide. The moderate Mediterranean climate is not only ideal for growing world-class grapes it has significant European influence stemming from the large number French, German, Spanish, and English that have relocated there.
There are three very distinct climate influences from the East to the West in Chile. Likewise, there are also three main grape growing regions that run from North to South in Chile. The Coastal Region is cool and moist from the Maritime influence, the Central Valley’s can be very warm, while the Andes Mountain region can be warm or very cool depending on the season and location.
The three major grape growing regions of Chile are the Casablanca Valley where they grow Sauvignon blanc, Chardonnay, and Pinot noir, this area is located within the Coastal region. The Maipo Valley produces Cabernet Sauvignon and is located in the Central Valley region while the Rapel and Colchagua Valley’s grow Cabernet Sauvignon, Carmenere, and Merlot grape varietals. These valleys are situated from North to South.
The migration of Europeans over time has influenced the arts, culture, styles of food, and certainly winemaking. Argentina and Chile both are considered New World winemaking countries, yet due to the outside influence of Europeans who have migrated to Chile, there can be an Old World winemaking influence. For Kingston Vineyards Old World winemaking methodologies are definitely present in their handling, fermenting and aging of their wines.
For instance, the majority use of Native yeast rather than commercial inoculated strains of yeast is an example of Old World winemaking technique. Another example is their winemakers use of older barrels for fermenting and aging Kingston wines, imparting far less tannin, aroma, and flavor to the wines. The Kingston Vineyard Chardonnay is partially fermented and aged in cement vats which are a technique used to have a neutral effect on the wine as opposed to wooden barrels that impart texture, aroma, and flavor or steel tanks that can impart a tart crispness, almost metallic style effect on a wine.
Interview with Courtney Kingston
The three Kingston Vineyard Wines we are featuring today on The Tasting Room are the Tobiano Pinot noir, the Lucero Syrah, and the Cariblanco Sauvignon blanc.
The Tobiano Pinot noir is cold soaked for at least 5 days, this extracts the right amount of color and mellow’s the tannins. It is fermented utilizing mainly Native yeast allowing the grape to speak for itself. This wine was named for a Paint horse residing on the vineyard that looks as if it had a couple cans of paint throw on it.
The Lucero Syrah grapes are grown highest upon the hillsides at Kingston Vineyards where they receive the greatest amount of sunshine. The Syrah grapes from various blocks of the vineyard are cold soak fermented separately after being de-stemmed, although some of the grapes are fermented together as a whole cluster. The grapes are then put into older neutral wine barrels for a second native fermentation imparting a subtle smoothness into the final product, the wine.
Lucero is a horse from the farm that the vineyard is also located on. The horse was named for the bright white flash on his forehead!
The Kingston Vineyards Sabino Chardonnay has been fermented in French Oak Barrels and concrete tanks. Native yeast natural fermentation allows this wine to have a particular sense of place. It needs a bit of age so I recommend laying it down for at least one year.
The Kingston Vineyards Cariblanco Sauvignon blanc has a combination of Native and inoculated yeast used in the fermentation process. The wine is finished in steel tanks where it undergoes partial malolactic fermentation, helping to settle the acidity. Cariblanco is a horse that resides at the vineyard too, his face is a stunning white!
The wines I have selected today are of exceptional quality and value. I recommend the Kingston Vineyards wines to you.
From my table to yours,