Ritual Casablanca Valley Pinot Noir 2008
Pinot Noir from Chile, South America
#87 Wine Spectator Top 100 of 2010
"2008 Ritual opens with striking aromas of black cherries, raspberry and plum. The mid palate is round, soft and elegant with black currant and blueberry notes mingling with hints of cola. Its rich, yet restrained tannins provide depth and lead to a luxurious finish."
Paul Hobbs, Consulting Winemaker
Ritual is the result of Veramonte's decade-long quest to make delicious and affordable Pinot Noir from Chile's Casablanca Valley. Agustin Huneeus partnered with American winemaker Paul Hobbs to produce a small bottling of a super premium Pinot Noir from the renowned Casablanca Valley. From planting each vine at our Casablanca Valley estate to hand harvesting in small batches, we apply the same time-honored methods to our Pinot Noir in the vineyard and winery as the great wines of Burgundy. Consulting Winemaker Paul Hobbs harvests at first light in the cool morning fog, introduce native yeast fermentations to bring out the vineyard's expression and use only gentle gravity handling to produce Ritual, a Pinot Noir characterized by elegance and grace.
Wine Spectator - "This is mouthfilling, but stylish and focused, offering lush cherry and raspberry fruit that's layered with additional spice and sweet tobacco notes. Nicely integrated toast frames the finish. Drink now."
Ritual wines come from the Veramonte winery. Veramonte represents a return to Agustin Huneeus' Chilean roots. When he spearheaded development of the Veramonte Estate in 1990, there were less than 100 acres of grapevines planted in the Casablanca Valley.
The coastal mountain ranges surrounding the Casablanca estate create a unique terroir with a diversity of microclimates. The valley floor's cool climate is reminiscent of Carneros and ideal for growing premium Chardonnay. The foothills are warmer, akin to the more Northern reaches of the Napa Valley. Here, the climate is more suited to varieties like Carmenëre, the lost Bordeaux grape that has become Chile's citizen and the basis of Primus, our racy, exotic Chilean blend.
Using the latest viticultural technology developed in California, rootstock has been matched to each vineyard block and clone. Vertical trellising and dense vine spacing balance growth and fruit production. Veramonte's Casablanca vineyard produces significantly lower yields than other grape growing regions in Chile, resulting in grapes with more intensity and concentration.
Recognizing that the region also had potential as a tourist destination for its proximity to Santiago, Huneeus began to plant the estate and in 1995, constructed the first Napa Valley style hospitality center in Chile. The first wines were released in 1996. View all Ritual Wines
About ChileView a map of Chile wineries (CHEE-lay)Long and thin, Chile has a lot of land north to south. The wine region here is a series of districts based near Santiago. The vineyards are protected by the Pacific on the west and the Andes mountains on the east. This could help explain why the climate changes more from east to west than north to south – also why the country has remained phylloxera free. Quite a few wineries in Chile were founded by large French wine companies. Seeing the potential of the country, vineyards were bought and planted by these French folks and the results tell of a smart investment. Some of these wineries include: Los Vascos, Casa Lapostolle and Cousino Macul. And while the inspiration may have been French, but the wines here are quite Chilean.
Photo of the sun break following morning fog over the vineyards of Veramonte Winery (located in the Casablanca Valley)
Notable FactsThe main regions of Chile include Maipo (pronounced MY-poh), known for reds like Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Carmenere; Casablanca Valley, a region producing delicious Sauvignon Blanc, as well as other whites & some reds; Colchaugua, an inland district creating amazing red wines from Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon, particularly in the Apalta sub-region; and Rapel Valley, settled right under Maipo and producing the same red varietals. A couple of smaller regions to watch include Limari and Elqui, two valleys further north, producing some delicious cool-climate Chardonnay and Bio Bio, an area further south, which is also focused on cool-climate varieties. Chilean wines are growing in exports and more consumers are enjoying the delicious values coming from the country. Red wines of the region, though they cannot be generalized, make the whole gamut of wine quality – quaffable to collectible. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot & Carmenere are the main players, though Syrah is also making a splash. Some of the best reds are blends of the above varieties. As for whites, Sauvignon Blanc is typically crisp, herbal and racy, while Chardonnay is richer in style with full-bodied texture and tropical fruit flavors.
About South AmericaRelated Links:
Young, organically farmed Carmenère at Chile's De Martino estate vineyard
Customer ReviewsSign In to Add Your Review33.1 out of 5 stars
12 ratings, 5 with reviewsanonymous1127988348 - Cheshire, CT44/21/2016Abcd - Washington, DC11/21/2011AwfulCecilia Glass - New York, NY32/29/2012Cecilia Glass - New York, NY42/29/2012310/1/2010dark, pretty good, but not great or anything.Linda J Brockriede - Long Branch, NJ15/6/2011Edward Andersen - Sterling, IL44/26/201144/19/2011Wonderful aroma & taste. So easy to drink. This is the best Pinot I've had since Benton Lane.emsact - Aurora, IL44/5/201133/1/2011Enjoyed my bottle of Veramonte very much. The other reviewer's shipment must have sat in a hot warehouse or truck long enough to kill it.110/24/2010Based the wine.com email recommendation, I had 3 bottles shipped to me of the Veramonte Ritual P.Noir 08. I was thoroughly disappointed. It had a nose of alcohol & a hot mid-palate presence of petrol. Sharp green tannins dominated the finish. I'm hoping that future recs are more accurate.