LCBO Vintages Release
Ritual practices biodynamic, low-impact farming in Chile’s Casablanca Valley. The winery is a partnership between winemaker Rodrigo Soto, a pioneer of biodynamic winemaking in Chile, and American consulting winemaker Paul Hobbs. The estate is located at the valley’s extreme eastern end, set against the sweeping beauty of the dramatic Coastal Range and cooled by the air from the Pacific Ocean driven by the Humboldt Current. The vineyards are surrounded by 6000 acres of native forest, creating an environment where vines thrive alongside natural wildlife corridors and native vegetation.
Ritual Chardonnay is a meticulous selection from vines growing at the foot of the native forest that surrounds the Casablanca estate. The south-facing, gently-sloping vineyard is perched 310 metres above sea level. The vines, planted in 1993, are rooted in granite-rich clay loam soils. Mirroring their low-impact approach in the vineyards, Ritual prefers gentle handling and a sort of revival of Old World winemaking technique in the cellar. Grapes were harvested by hand in small baskets in the early morning, when the fruit is still cool. A portion went through whole-cluster fermentation by native yeast in concrete eggs, the remainder fermented in large oak barrels (20% new). Lees was stirred regularly to draw out a richly textured palate.
Elegant yellow-green in colour, this is an expressive Chardonnay with aromas of quince, apple, and hazelnut. The palate is soft and creamy, remarkably rounded with a long finish.
“This is dense and layered with dried apple, peach and pineapple. Full body, beautiful fruit and a pretty finish. So delicious and focused. Drink now.”
93 points, JamesSuckling.com, May 2017