The Tasting Panel magazine

December 2013

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Page 40 of 152

INTRO-VINOUS Fun, Chilean Style WITH UNDURRAGA, IT'S ALL ABOUT "U" by Jonathan Cristaldi O The inventive ad campaign for "U" by Undurraga, created by importer Debbie Lane's 34-year-old daughter, Brianne Bechet, targets younger LDA wine drinkers. ne-and-half-liter jugs of wine once characterized the pioneering Chilean brand Viña Undurraga. However, now under more progressive ownership, the company has made major strides in the last decade. The Picciotto family, one of the largest distributors in Colombia, purchased half of Undurraga's holdings in 1988, and in 2006 the other half of the company was sold to entrepreneur José Yuraszeck, who owns Club Universidad de Chile, one of the most successful football clubs in the country. Together, the Picciottos and Yuraszeck set out to elevate Undurraga's wine portfolio, hiring new winemakers, purchasing vineyards in all the best valleys and adding a new management team. They now own 4,600 acres of vineyards. Undurraga's T.H. label signifies quality wines from specific origins. No wine is made from more than five hectares of land, and every wine has been rated over 91 points from major publications. In 2012, Debbie Lane of Testa Wines, based in Oyster Bay, NY, was offered the chance to import Undurraga's reinvigorated wines. Given Undurraga's push to rebrand as a fine wine house, Lane was unimpressed with the lower-tier offerings and encouraged the owners to re-craft the value wines so that they over-delivered. The owners agreed and set out to make improvements. "The results were thrilling," says Lane. The new line was dubbed "U" and boasts clean, colorful, easy-to-remember labels—as well as near endless fUn in marketing the wines. To boot, Lane is impressed with how the wines are "so drinkable and enjoyable; they offer a good step toward getting younger people to drink better wines." This past fall, "U" by Undurraga hit retail stores in the Northern U.S. and chain stores in the South. The portfolio includes four estate-grown wines: from the Maipo Valley, a Sauvignon Blanc showing pleasant tropical fruit character and a Pinot Noir offering up dark cherry fruit with earthy overtones; from Rapel, a lush dark-berried Cabernet Sauvignon; and from the Central Valley, a ChardonnayRiesling blend that gives way to ripe tropical fruit, honeysuckle and a soft mango core. All four wines retail at $9.99—great values finds for holiday entertaining. Bill Berkoff, VP and Beverage Manager of Bevmax, a retailer based in Stamford, Connecticut, has enjoyed much success with in-store tastings of "U". Says Berkoff, "The Pinot Noir is one of the best in the market for the price. With good spice and earth notes, it hedges new world and old world nicely, offering a good change of pace for those drinking American Pinots at the same price point." Lane is hopeful the trend continues: "I think we're at the beginning of an explosion of even better Chilean wines." C M Y CM MY CY CMY K 40  /  the tasting panel  /  december 2013 TP1213_034-63.indd 40 11/23/13 8:26 PM

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