​Koyle, Don Cande Muscat 2014 Itata


£8.75 The Wine Society

Last week’s wine of the week was available only in the US while this Chilean, for the moment anyway, seems to be exported only to the UK, care of the enterprising Wine Society, whose Chilean buyer is one of the best sources of information on that explosively evolving source of wine.

This is a good example of one of the new styles of fresh, low alcohol (11.5%) white wine coming from the southerly wine region of Itata where old Muscat of Alexandria vines are the most common pale-skinned grapes. It’s a very particular wine style. Nothing like the standard full-bodied whites that make up the great majority of white wines sold and drunk today, it is light, bone dry but super fruity and extremely refreshing. Just 450 cases were produced.

I cannot imagine drinking it with food, but it would make a thoroughly delightful aperitif, or wine for gently sipping while reading a book or watching television. The fruit is piercingly bright and has been handled very skilfully, as one would expect of the winemaker Cristobal Undurraga who has made wine at Château Margaux, in Australia with Phillip Shaw, and at Montes’ property in Mendoza, Kaiken. The Undurragas sold their eponymous Chilean wine company and have established Viña Koyle (one of many unexpected names for a Chilean wine company) in Alto Colchagua with production focused on ambitious reds.

This enterprising white wine comes from the Don Cande vineyard much further south in Itata’s Bularco sector. Made from 50-year-old dry-farmed bushvines grown on granite, the vineyard faces south (so away from the equator). The vines are a field blend of different varieties with Muscat of Alexandria (the Muscat that predominates in Spain) the principal variety. Dryish whites made from this Muscat can often be heavy or oily but this one is delightfully fresh – although I recommend drinking it over the next year rather than cellaring it.

You can read more about what’s going on in Chile, including the general shift southwards, via this guide to our recent coverage of Chile.