Three Affordable Wines from Chile — And They’re Organic

The three wines in this tasting have at least three things in common: organic viticulture, Chilean origin, affordability. And all three wineries, along with Neyen, are sister wineries. We received these wines as tasting samples.

Organic wine choices are finally becoming more common and more wineries are putting their organic certification on the wine bottle, though not all do. That’s why it’s important to know the names of wineries following organic practices in the vineyard. If organic practices are important to you then Ritual, Veramonte and Primus are three names you should know.

2017 Ritual Pinot noir, Casablanca Valley, Chile photo
2017 Ritual Pinot Noir, Casablanca Valley, Chile

2017 Ritual Pinot Noir, Casablanca Valley, Chilelight ruby with aromas of raspberries, blackberry bramble and earth. Flavors follow with a combination of red and dark fruit, earth, cedar and alfalfa. Tannins are smooth in a barely medium body with notable acidity. The finish is just medium in length. 13.5% abv. SRP $19.99

Casablanca Valley is a cool-climate region on the northwestern side of Chile’s coastal range. The region sits less than 18 miles from the Pacific Ocean. Morning fog and gentle breezes keep growing conditions for cool-climate varieties just perfect. Winemaking employed French oak aging for 11 months in 20% new oak. 100% Pinot Noir. The flavor profile definitely reflects this wine’s cool-climate origin.

2019 Veramonte Cabernet Sauvignon, Colchagua Valley, Chile photo
2019 Veramonte Cabernet Sauvignon, Colchagua Valley, Chile

2019 Veramonte Cabernet Sauvignon, Colchagua Valley, Chiledark ruby with aromas of plums and blackberries along with crushed flower stems. Flavors include blackberries, red cherries, tobacco and cocoa. Tannins are gauzy in a medium body with notable acidity. The finish is medium in length. 14% abv. SRP $11.99

Made with Organic Grapes appears right on the front label of this wine, so there is no doubt as to its organic roots. Veramonte’s Colchagua Valley vineyards are located in the area of Marchigüe where soils are well draining and perfect for growing Cabernet Sauvignon and Carménère. The wine aged for eight months in neutral oak. 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. The flavors are bright and lively with ample acidity and substantial tannins.

2018 Primus The Blend, DO Apalta, Colchagua Valley, Chile photo
2018 Primus The Blend, DO Apalta, Colchagua Valley, Chile

2018 Primus The Blend, DO Apalta, Colchagua Valley, Chiledark ruby with aromas of raspberries and blackberries, asphalt and green herbs. Flavors include blackberries, raspberries, blueberries and tobacco leaf. Tannins are firm and grippy in a medium body with notable acidity. The finish is medium in length. 13.5% abv. SRP $18  

The Apalta vineyards in the Colchagua Valley grow in granitic soils and alluvial riverbeds of the Tinguiririca River. The hilly location where the Andes and Coastal mountain ranges meet is planted to pre-phylloxera vines of French origin. 55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Carménère, 10% Syrah, 10% Petit Verdot, 5% Cabernet Franc was aged in a combination of 5000L foudres (33%) and French oak barrels for 12 months. Delicious blend; the Carménère comes through in subtle ways.

Good things really do come in threes with this tasting. All of these wines offer excellent value with the added bonus of being grown in organic vineyards. They have a common thread of notable acidity, which I appreciate in red wines, that comes with plenty of fruit flavors that are not too ripe. These wineries have common ownership as well. In 2016 González Byass purchased controlling interest in Viñedos Veramonte (the Veramonte, Ritual, Primus and Neyen brands). González Byass is a Jerez-based family business that owns a collection of Spanish wineries. González Byass USA is the company’s distribution arm in the US.

Thanks to Donna White Communications for organizing our tasting.

Cheers!

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