2006 Kingston Family Vineyards Syrah Bayo Oscuro Casablanca Valley

Kingston Family Vineyards Syrah Bayo Oscuro  Casablanca Valley

We were having lunch at Jean-Georges in NYC. 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. We asked to see the bottle. Kingston Family Cellars in Casablanca, Chile?

When we got back from Jean-Georges, we googled the winery. We saw that Byron Kosuge, the brilliant winemaker who we had first met in the early 1990s at Saintsbury, was on board. Bryon is ingenious with Pinot Noir and Syrah. Pinot and Syrah in Chile? Hard to believe, but if Kosuge was doing it, he was doing so for a reason. First, we called the winery and booked a visit. Then we shuffled around our itinerary for the trip to Mendoza.

Kingston Vineyards
Kingston Vineyards
Once we arrived, we were greeted by Courtney Kingston. It didn't take long to realize first why there was no sign on the property, and second what Kosuge was doing south of the equator. This charming woman, of uncommon intelligence, wasn't here to create a monument to her ego. She had assumed the helm of her family's property with one thing in mind -- to make a tiny amount of extraordinary, world class wine. As we walked the Syrah vineyards, with their fine thin trunks, we got down on a knee, scooped up some soil, allowing it to sift through our fingers. Maybe it was Courtney's charm that brought Kosuge to come to Santiago. But just as certainly, knowing Kosuge, it was the cool coastal climate with its extended growing season and this rare, granite soil -- not all that different from Hermitage.

The 2006 Bayo Oscuro Syrah is a fully saturated, deep red in color. On the nose, there's notes of raspberry and blueberry. Red fruits continue on the palate, along with a meaty, spicy character. This spice lingers on the long, precise finish.

Try this robust, savor red with pan-seared veal chops rubbed with rosemary and garlic.