We all have rituals that we perform day in and day out without batting an eye.  I kick start every morning with a ritual of pouring a cup of coffee and then crawling back into bed with it to peruse the news.  Rituals can be as simple as a morning run, yoga meditation, telling your child a bedtime story, or prayers over a meal. Many of our rituals go beyond ourselves and transcend to our families, religion, spiritual practices, and holidays.

Photo courtesy of Unsplash.com

With Covid lurking around every corner, many life rituals and daily routines have been disrupted and are now temporarily on hold.  Many of us have established new rituals and routines to take their place.  Breathing is something I always took for granted until Covid brought it to my attention.  And now, one of my new daily rituals is 10 minutes of deep breathing exercises to strengthen my lungs and calm my soul.  For others, it might be inventing new ways to celebrate rites of passage, or writing in a journal.  Since getting together online has become the “new norm”, several of my friends and colleagues have established cocktail hour rituals.

Of course, one of my favorite rituals that I can continue despite Covid is pouring a glass of wine or spirits at the end of the day and doing a big exhale!  So, I was most delighted when I recently received a shipment of wines named Ritual! I love the name and how fitting for this new chapter we are living in.

Photo credit: Penny Weiss

Ritual wines are produced from the Viñedos Veramonte organic estate. It is located in the extreme eastern end of Chile’s Casablanca Valley wine region. With respect to Chile’s other wine regions, Casablanca Valley is relatively new.  The first vineyards were planted here in the 1980s during Chile’s revitalization of its viticulture industry.

Casablanca Valley wine region is about 20 miles long from east to west and is close to the Pacific Ocean.  The vineyards for Ritual wine benefit from the cool morning fog and cloud cover. In addition, the cool sea breezes of the Pacific Ocean alleviate the heat of the day.

Photo courtesy of Ritual Wines

Soil composition is a combination of decomposed granite soil, with a top layer of red volcanic clay.  This soil allows the vines to go deep and absorb minerality, which reflects in the wines. With hot days and cold nights and a lengthier ripening period, the white grapes have more time to develop more complexity, flavor and maintain a good balance of sugar and acidity.   These are ideal growing conditions for cool climate wines, and Casablanca Valley is noted for producing outstanding Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. Cool climate red grapes also do very well here, such as Pinot Noir and Syrah.

Fortunately, Covid has not interrupted the winery’s rituals and organic practices from the vineyard to the winemaking process.  To quote from their website, “Crafting fine wine is steeped in Ritual and grounded in terroir. We endeavor in creating beautiful wines that are a reflection of this special place. Ritual is a labor of love. It connects us to the land we farm, to healthy living soil, and to the daily rituals of artisanal winemaking.”

Photo courtesy of Ritual Wines

All the vineyards of the Viñedos Veramonte estate have organic certifications.  Using low-impact farming methods, they make their own compost from the stems and pomace gathered during harvest season and manure from local animals to promote a balanced and self-regulated ecosystem. Cover cropping and seeding are practiced for revitalizing the soils. Sheep are used to “mow the grass” and also function as natural fertilizers.  

Photo courtesy of Ritual Wines

Grapes are hand-harvested in small batches, and once in the winery, only native yeasts are used to obtain a” natural balance and greater purity”.  Different containers are used in the winemaking process, each one adding a unique characteristic to the wines. Oak barrels are used for structure, concrete eggs for texture, stainless steel drums for freshness, and stainless steel tanks for aromatics. Winemaker Sofia Araya produces Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, and Pinot Noir.  These wines are aged in combinations of neutral oak, concrete eggs, and stainless steel tanks.  

Ritual Sauvignon Blanc 2019

30% of this wine is fermented in concrete eggs, 30% in neutral oak, and 40% in stainless steel tanks. The wine is then aged in each of its containers for eight to ten months, with each vessel contributing aromatics, flavors, and textures.  This is a fresh and aromatic wine with aromas of floral, citrus, and white stone fruit that segue onto the palate with vibrant acidity, and hints of minerality.  Citrus and nectarine linger on a long finish.  Drink as an aperitif or pair with seafood, light pasta, and salads.
Alcohol:  13.5%
SRP: $19.99

Ritual Chardonnay 2018

This wine is fermented in 20% concrete eggs, 20% new 400-liter barrels, and 60% neutral oak.  Amazing aromas of lemon curd, white stone fruit, and a touch of vanilla, spill onto the palate with a hint of oak.  It is beautifully balanced with acidity and notes of salinity and minerality.  This wine is fresh, lively, and elegant! Serve with cheese, light pasta, seafood, grilled fish, or chicken.
Alcohol: 13.5%
SRP: $20.99

Ritual Pinot Noir 2017

This wine is fermented with wild yeasts to enhance its depth, intensity, and complexity. It is aged for 11 months in French oak barrels, 20% new.  From aroma to the palate, this wine delivers “fresh and juicy”.

One is greeted with aromas of cherries, berries, and floral.  The palate offers raspberry, strawberry, cherry, notes of integrated oak, and a silky smooth mouthfeel.  This is a fresh, well-balanced, and expressive wine. Serve with seared tuna, pasta, fowl, and spicy Asian cuisine.
Alcohol: 13.5%
SRP: $20.99

In addition to the wines, I was gifted a “Rituals and Wellness” journal. Written on the cover are these words, “An Intentional Journal For Mindful Rituals & Wellness Intentions”.   It is a perfect journal for an imperfect time.

We are embarking on a new year that will surely bring more changes in our lives. We will find more new rituals, and hopefully, rediscover old ones again.

Until next time…

All quotes are from ritualwines.com

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Penny is a wine, spirits, food, and travel writer. Her sensory examination and evaluation of wine and food are noteworthy. Penny has a popular website called The WineKnitter that takes you with her to discover wine/spirits, travel, food, and culture worldwide. She began her serious foray into the world of wine in the early 1980s, where she was part of three very successful family-owned restaurants in NYC and "cut her teeth,” so to speak, with wines such as Petrus, Chateau Margaux, Chateau Haut Brion, Cristal, etc. Penny has an extensive presence on many social media sites, and her education is ongoing with wine seminars, wine tastings, and culinary delights from around the world. She studied at the Wine & Spirits Education Trust, completed WSET Level 2 Certification with Distinction, and is continuing with Level 3, advanced certification in wine. Penny is a member of The Wine Media Guild.

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