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For 19 years, World of Pinot Noir has been bringing together Pinot Noir producers and Pinot Noir lovers! Taking place at the Ritz Carlton Bacara Resort in Santa Barbara, I attended for my fifth consecutive year and attended seminars, tasted delicious wines, saw lots of familiar friendly faces and met new winemakers. A fun weekend festival, World of Pinot Noir is the Please The Palate pick of the week. More than 200 Pinot Noir producers from around the world participated in World of Pinot Noir 2019. There were producers from all of the California Pinot regions - Santa Barbara County, Santa Cruz, San Luis Obispo County, Sonoma, Mendocino, Monterey and Napa. There were producers from Oregon. And there were producers from France, Chile, New Zealand and Spain. So, if you like Pinot Noir, this is definitely the event for you!
This story originally appeared in the Napa Valley Register.
Chile is a place to pay attention to for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Meet some of the winemakers who are redefining Chilean wine with their Coastal Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs. These winemakers are friends and colleagues who have studied together and worked together over the years. They are each focused on cultivating a distinct sense of place in the wines they produce. And, they share the common belief that if one succeeds, they all will succeed.
Rodrigo Soto of Veramonte, Ritual, Primus, Neyen
“We need to focus not on what is new, but what is really good,” Rodrigo Soto explained. “I met Rodrigo last year and had written a story about him finding a sense of place in Chile. Well-spoken and insightful, Rodrigo is the president of Veramonte, Ritual, Primus and Neyen wines.
Veramonte was established by Agustin Huneeus in the early 1990s. Soto took the position of head winemaker in 2012 after working at Fetzer and Benziger in California, Wither Hills in New Zealand and Matetic in Chile.
Under his direction, Rodrigo converted Veramonte from a conventional winery to a biodynamic winery. His interests in organics began at university and ultimately became the topic of his thesis. To Rodrigo, biodynamics “is the best way to achieve quality and longevity” in wine. In addition, both organic and biodynamic farming practices lead to terroir-driven harvests.
As the perception of Chilean wine shifts from value to distinctive regionality, Rodrigo said that individual brands should be connected to one appellation. “Appellations need to be consistent. We need to establish them and be good at what we do.” Of the four labels produced by Veramonte, Ritual Wines are made exclusively from selected plots from the organic vineyards in Casablanca.
This story originally appeared in the Napa Valley Register.
Saying that Chilean wine equals value wine is “like sticking fingers in a wound,” explained Rodrigo Soto, president of Veramonte, Ritual, Primus and Neyen Wines. “It is the passion that we want to show. It is the strong quality of wines that need to be shown.”
Chilean wines have often been labeled as inexpensive and simple, as wines that are fun to drink with their bold fruit flavors. But there are a growing number of winemakers who are focused on quality wines that represent the place they are from.
“We have not been very good ambassadors with regards to the aspect of regionality and specificity,” Soto said. “Historically what we created were brands that represented the country. These brands are stronger than the appellations they are from. But our real value is on the dramatic regional geography which is best communicated by seeing it.”