The 2011 Ritual Sauvignon Blanc is sourced from two Veramonte Winery estate vineyards (one is organically farmed) in the Casablanca Valley grape growing area of the Aconcagua Region of Chile. Most of the Chilean wines you see on the store shelves are sourced from Chile’s Central Valley, but Casablanca Valley is located on the coast and has cool, foggy mornings that are ideal for cultivating Sauvignon Blanc grapes. Ritual is the high-end label for Veramonte Winery (one of the great things about Chile, is this is a “spare no expense” to produce wine and it still sells for a little under $20) concentrating on Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir. Veramonte is one of Agustin Huneeus’ wine partnerships, he recently purchased The Prisoner Wine Company and also does Quintessa, Faust and others. This Sauvignon Blanc was aged “on lees” in French oak barrels for 5 months, 25% new oak, the rest used barrels. The alcohol content is 14.5%.
The color is crystal clear, golden yellow. This is one of those wines where the aromas hit you way before the glass gets anywhere near your nose, there is grapefruit, crisp apple, pear, apricot, pineapple and beautiful tropical flowers. There is excellent intensity and length to the flavors, the oak aging gives this Sauvignon Blanc weight and solidity. It tastes of grapefruit, pineapple, pear, melon with a splash of white pepper and a touch of cream. The acidity is solid, it has its place in the flavors and mouthfeel, but does not go overboard. The finish is full and fairly long.
The 2011 Ritual Sauvignon Blanc is a very enjoyable bottle of wine, it is not the same as New Zealand Sauv Blanc, it is not as bright and crisp as French Sauvignon Blanc and it sure does not taste like West Coast Sauv Blanc. The Ritual is fun to drink, the flavors are very defined and they unfold as the wine washes over your palate. I was thinking about what to pair with this Sauv Blanc, but what the heck, I’m an American, who am I kidding, I drink wine as an alternative to beer or mixed drinks. Wine is a hedonistic pleasure unto itself. If you can think of some delectable morsels to munch on while your in a Dionysian frenzy with this delicious Sauvignon Blanc, then by all means be my guest.