We were having lunch at Jean-Georges in New York City. The city's restaurants have been hit hard, but $24 for lunch at Jean-Georges? Seems almost unfair. Our host ordered everyone a glass of Pinot Noir: a very pretty, vibrant, Carneros-styled wine. Cheap too. We asked to see the bottle. It was from a winery called Kingston Family Vineyards in Casablanca, Chile. Chile?
When we got back from Jean-Georges, we Googled the winery. We saw that Byron Kosuge was overseeing the winemaking. We'd known Kosuge (koh-soo-gee) for over 20 years, since his early days at Saintsbury. Byron's reputation for Pinot Noir is unimpeachable, but we had no idea what he could do with Sauvignon Blanc. Turns out, he can do a lot. But when we talked to Byron, he was quick to direct our praise to his assistant winemaker, Evelyn Vidal, who's in charge of the day-to-day operations at Kingston. A native of Chile, who's worked three harvests in Napa and Sonoma, Vidal is especially passionate about white wines, and her stamp is especially visible on this crisp, precise Sauvignon Blanc.
While many enthusiasts, fairly or not, tend to associate Chilean wines with large-scale production efforts, Kingston serves as a key exception. Among the few "garagistes" in Chile, Byron and Evelyn make all their wines, including this 2007 Sauvignon Blanc, in small one-ton fermenters.
Kingston Family Vineyards
This wine is straw colored, with a fresh, grassy nose featuring hints of grapefruit and gooseberry. On the palate, it's precise and clean, with well-defined citrus flavors, plenty of balance, and a sprightly finish.
Pair this wine with shellfish or a grilled fillet of white fish, like cod or red snapper.