Here’s the truth, I have a terrible memory when it comes to academia. I really have to work hard at remembering facts and figures. I’m very much a visual learner which is why maps are my friends.
So when I scheduled my Skype chat with Roberto Echeverria from Chile, the first thing I did was revisit some study materials from last year’s WSET 3 course to re-familiarize myself with the region.
Chile’s geography is what makes it unique. Vertically long and slender, the country is isolated by 4 metaphorical walls: The Pacific ocean to the west, the Andes mountains to the east (which also acts as a shared border with Argentina), the Atacama desert to the north and the bottom of the continent to the south. Vinã Echeverria has done an exquisite job of describing these key factors on their website.
Eceverria, which sits at about 35 degrees latitude (south) is in the Central Valley. To put latitude into perspective, Los Angeles (California) sits around 35 degrees north. In theory, these two areas – which are equal distance from the equator – should experience a similar climate. However, and this is a big however, MAJOR cooling influences from the Andes and the ocean is why some of Chile is considered a cooler climate. It’s mostly dry and sunny during the growing season but along the coast, cold ocean currents come up from Antarctica. Further inland, cold air descends from the mountains cooling the vineyards overnight. These attributes create prime conditions for Sauvignon Blanc.
The Echeverria Legacy
Roberto Echeverria Jr. (far left) is the current CEO, Managing Director and Chief Winemaker of Vinã Echeverria. Together with his siblings (Viviana, Paulina and Diego), they travel all over the world, hand selling their wines and sharing their passion for winemaking. Roberto’s great grandfather was the one who established the vineyards in Chile’s Curico Valley back in 1930. Today with nearly 100 years in the industry, the family is diligent in its commitment to maintain respect for the environment and was actually the first Chilean winery to be Certified Sustainable.
During our conversation, Roberto never let on that he feels pressure to continue the strong family legacy. His passion for wine is abundant and his excitement to share wines that he creates is clear. Especially when it comes to projects that have a purpose. Projects that either fill a niche (like his newly launched natural Chardonnay) or this Cool Climate Sauvignon Blanc, one that is clearly distinct from other Sauvignon Blanc’s.
What makes this Sauvignon Blanc different?
Echeverria’s Cool Climate Sauvignon Blanc was launched in BC Liquor Stores late last year. With grapes coming from coastal vineyards in the Leyda Valley, the fresh attributes are prevalent. When I tasted it, I was blown away by the lychee and passion fruit. Typical citrus flavours were there as well, mostly grapefruit with some lime – but they were in the background. Not nearly as dominate as you’d find in a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, for instance. The lively palate displayed mouth-watering acidity, although not mouth puckering, which is another differentiating factor from some other Sauvignon Blanc’s.
In peeking around on Echeverria’s website, the Cool Climate Sauvignon Blanc is a departure from their standard coat-of-arms branding. It’s distinctively more modern, although not too edgy. The blue wavy design automatically make me think of the cool ocean, while the slim and simple font for ‘cool’ is clear, concise and again – modern. The balance of white space should also be mentioned. To me, it’s speaking to a younger generation that isn’t afraid of white space (look at any Instagram influencer/blogger’s website…it’s white white white!)
Overall, I really like this packaging; I’d grab it off the shelf in a second. What I wasn’t expecting was the flavour composition, it’s a refreshing change from lemon/lime/asparagus Sauv Blanc’s we’ve seen flood the market place in the past 10 years. However it maintains typical freshness and vibrancy that it should have.
The Echeverria Cool Climate Sauvignon Blanc can easily stand on its own while sipping during happy hour. It also has more than enough balance and structure to include on the table during a weekend brunch or weekday dinner.
Check your local BC Liquor Store to pick up a bottle. Regularly $15.99. Grab it before March 2nd to save $1 per bottle.