The Primus winemaker, Sofía Araya, was born, raised and schooled in Chile. The winery reports that she is a perfect fit for their organic program, and that she knows well how to make wines which have a sense of place. Agricultural manager José Aguirre directed the migration to organic farming for all three of the Primus estates - Casablanca, Apalta and Marchigüe. The Primus wines are imported in the U.S. by Gonzalez Byass.
Primus Apalta Carménère 2018
The Apalta Vineyard is in Colchagua, where the hundred-year-old vines grow on the terraced shores of the Tinguiririca River. The wine was aged in French oak, one-fifth of which was new. Alcohol hits 14% abv and it sells for around $15.
This wine has a fragrant nose of cassis, blackberry and licorice. A hint of black pepper also comes through. On the palate a large serving of dark fruit hits first, with sweet oak spice and a savory note of earth. The tannins are easy enough on the mouthfeel, but firm enough to serve a purpose at the table. The savory aspect lingers on the generous finish.
Primus Maipo Cabernet Sauvignon 2017
From the Maipo Valley, these grapes grew along the terraced shores of the Maipo River, in the foothills of the Andes Mountains. Alcohol reaches 13.5% abv and the wine sells for around $17.
This Chilean Cab has an earthy, rustic nose full of dark berries, leather and sage. The palate shows the blackberry up front and leaves an herbal trail along the lengthy finish. The tannins are firm, but not raspy and the acidity is vibrant enough to promote plenty of lip-smacking. Fans of Napa Cabs might not be wowed by this one, but if you like the Cabs of Paso Robles, you may find a friend in this bottle.
Primus Apalta The Blend 2017
Back now to Apalta for a blend of 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Carménère, 10% Petit Verdot, 5% Merlot, 5% Syrah and 5% Cabernet Franc. Alcohol stands at 14% abv and the retail sticker shows about $17.
This six-grape blend is as aromatic as one might expect from Carménère, PV, Merlot, Syrah and Cabs Franc and Sauvignon. There is much dark fruit on the nose, along with cigar box, leather, cedar and licorice. The palate is bold, too, with a complex flavor profile and tannins which are useful but not overpowering.