Soto recently took to a web chat with wine writers to prove that he was making what’s been called Chile’s best pinot noir — and for under 20 bucks a bottle. In between tales of the wild world of Chilean winemaking, we tasted through three brand new releases.
2015 Ritual Sauvignon Blanc Casablanca Valley – A dry rendition of sauvignon blanc, lots of minerals and tight aromatics, including savory herbs and very light, white florals. Pale a ghost, the wine is clean and crisp, but the finish comes off as a bit astringent. B / $18
2015 Ritual Chardonnay Casablanca Valley – Balanced and restrained, with just a touch of butter and spice atop an otherwise fruity and juicy wine that’s loaded with apple and lemon notes. Some caramel emerges with time, but the finish showcases sweet and ultra-ripe fruit, lasting for quite a while. B+ / $20
2015 Ritual Pinot Noir Casablanca Valley – Very dry at first, almost dusty. Give it some time and fruit develops in the glass, a gentle plum/strawberry combo tempered by a dusting of cloves, slate dust, and mushroom. The “best pinot in Chile” may be pushing things, but it turns out to be remarkably drinkable, even with spicy and exotic foods. B+ / $20