Almaviva now vies with Sena for the distinction of being considered the finest wine to herald from Chile. Almaviva was established in 1996 as a joint venture between Baron Philippe de Rothschild of Mouton Rothschild and the Chilean power-house Concha y Toro. The union brought together exceptional fine wine making expertise from Mouton Rothschild and the local savoir-faire and commercial might of Concho y Toro. To this end, it is the Chilean Opus One, the goal of Opus One was to create the First Growth wine of Napa Valley; the goal of Almaviva to fashion the same in Chile.
In 2014, Almaviva have once again achieved a superb wine, which has been awarded its joint highest ever score with an impressive 97 points. Today’s release price of £400 looks attractive when compared to the 92 point scoring 2006 and 94 point scoring 2005, which trade at £520 and £595 respectively. It also stacks up well on price compared to Opus One, which released yesterday for £1,100 per case of six bottles.
Almaviva is the name of the vineyard and the joint venture. If you recognise the moniker it is because it is derived from Pierre de Beaumarchais’ character, the Count of Almaviva in his play, The Marriage of Figaro, which Mozart later turned into one of his most famous operas. It is a romantic notion and emblematic of Hispanic roots, symbolising a synthesis of European and American Culture, French winemaking tradition on Chilean soil. In fact, the label bears the name Almaviva in Beaumarchais’ own handwriting, while paying homage to Chilean ancestral history, symbolising a vision of the earth and the cosmos from the Mapuche civilisation. This image appears on the Kultrun, the ritual drum of the Mapuche.
Almaviva’s vineyard was selected from Concha y Toro’s best Puente Alto vineyards. Puente Alto is cited in the Maipo Valley and is famed for perfect growing conditions for Cabernet Sauvignon. Almaviva is guided by the hand of Patrick Leon, the winemaker of Mouton Rothschild and Opus One, and the outcome has been spectacular. Almaviva also includes Carmenere and Cabernet Franc, rounding off the blend. It spends 18 months in new French Oak and is bottled unfined and unfiltered.
Almaviva delights with flavours of chocolate, blackcurrants, smoke, toast and sweet spice reminiscent of both Opus One and Mouton Rothschild, which it accompanies beautifully in cellars and collections.
97 points, James Suckling
A wine with wonderful blueberry, blackberry and hints of cedar and spice. Full body, dense and beautiful fruit. Chocolate, walnut and berry. It goes on for minutes. A fabulous wine. Better in 2020 but gorgeous now.
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