In 1998, the vines for this Pinot Noir were planted. Spanning 19 hectares of land, this is no ordinary Pinot Noir. At Ritual, Rodrigo Soto practices both organic and biodynamic viticluture, and in 2019 will be fully certified organic. This means no use of man-made pesticides or chemicals are used in the vineyard. The use of fertilizers must be 100% natural and traditional. Sheep are employed to mow the grass between the vines whilst also providing natural fertilization for the soil at the same time.
Biodynamic techniques work alongside those of organic but work to the rules of nature even further. In the vineyard, certain activities such as pruning or hand-harvesting are dictated by the phases of the moon. Adhering to the natural environment and ecosystem at all times by ensuring local plant life is among the vines. He looks after nature and nature looks after the vines. It is a very holistic approach. Whether it be the 6,000 acre forests surrounding the vineyards or the native flowers between each row. It is a carefully balanced environment, at which wine is not at the centre of attention but part of something greater.
However, in the winery, the grapes very much are attended to, and with great care too. Fermentation is spontaneous with the use of natural “wild” yeasts, already present in the winery, thus continuing the organic ethos. The grapes are carefully sorted, pressed and left to ferment at their own speed with manual punching down by hand and spontaneous malolactic conversion. The wine is then aged in French oak barrels for 11 months, with 20% being new oak so as to homogenize the wine.
The result, after all that love, care and attention is a wine with real expression, authenticity and a sense of place. It is a medium-bodied Pinot Noir with remarkable floral, cranberry and raspberry aromas. On the palate, bright fruit flavours with a wonderful texture and extraordinary acidity. Smooth and balanced with a silky, velvety finish.
“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.” – Rodrigo Soto, Winemaker.
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