Primus Cabernet Sauvignon, Maipo, Chile 2017

Deep ruby color; dark fruits, roasted cherry, cedar, blackberry on the nose; dark cherry, plum, blueberry, blackberry, vanilla, pinch of pepper on the palate.

Primus Cabernet Sauvignon, Maipo, Chile 2017

Dry; smooth, silky tannins with some acidity (3.84 pH). This was built for those who want their red wines to be tasty but not too assertive. Medium body. Some oak from a year in French wood, but only 18% new, so oak is only part of the ensemble. 13.5% ABV

Primus is a leading brand in the Chilean premium wine segment. “Primus” is Latin for “the first” or “the first among its peers.” Agustin Hunneus founded the winery more than 20 years ago. Initially, he produced a cabernet sauvignon-carménère blend. They now produce a varietal of each grape, including this cab. The grapes for this effort come from the third alluvial terrace of the Alto Maipo, at the foot of the Andes Mountains.

In the U.S., Primus is a González-Byass brand, a major player in the wine world. While Primus is its own brand, it is closely associated with Veramonte, another González-Byass brand in Colchague Valley. It appears Primus gets or co-grows its grapes from Veramonte vineyards. A good thing. Veramonte emphasizes organic principles. Website notes: “We follow organic practices in all our estates to ensure the best conditions for the development of the vine, thus achieving vineyards that are sustainable in time. Through cultivating healthy, living soils and maintaining a natural balance in our vineyards and Winemaking process, we obtain quality grapes that express the full potential of the terroir, leading to wines with character, authentic and expressive.”

Primus vineyard and winery

Beyond that, Veramonte, Primus, and González-Byass emphasize a holistic approach to their entire operations. Respect for the land, yes. Also respect for the people who work the land. The Chilean wine industry is among—maybe the leader—in a total approach to sustainable, responsible practices. Veramonte/Primus make special effort to responsibly treat their employees and the communities where they live.

In Veramonte vineyards, “Sheep and other animals help us cut grass in spring, air and minimize the compaction of our soils. In addition, they act as a natural fertilizer.” Their vineyards have biological corridors to preserve biodiversity and encourage a self-regulated ecosystem. Veramonte produces all its own compost, utilizing material from the winery and vineyards.

Primus Cabernet Sauvignon, Maipo, Chile 2017 is very easy-drinking pure cab play from quality maker. Silky texture, relaxed tannins. Mellow, laid-back iteration of cabernet sauvignon that certainly will pleasure those who enjoy red wine, especially paired with red meats, but do not want the aggressively assertive tannins and overextravagant bold fruit flavors. Pair with red meat in general; steaks; roast beef; grilled ribs; lamb; wild game—venison, boar; poultry; hard, aged cheese. Superb QPR (quality-price ratio). $15-19

Primus Wines website

González-Byass website

Primus Apalta vineyard
Primus winery
Veramonte vineyard with weed control team
Veramonte vineyard
Veramonte vineyard