Following the release of Opus One 2015, today sees the release of Almaviva 2016. These wines are closely related, indeed, Almaviva is the Opus One of Chile. It 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. In 2016, Almaviva has been awarded 97 points from James Suckling making it the joint second highest ever scoring vintage. Today’s release price is £558, offering a large discount to Opus One. Like Opus One, Almaviva has begun to come under the spotlight in Asia, where we see constant demand. However, production is currently half that of Opus One and a discount of 58% on release. Like Opus One and Mouton Rothschild itself it predominates in Cabernet Sauvignon, in 2016 it has 66%, accompanied by 24% Carmenere, 8% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot. As can be seen from the table below, Almaviva is showing vintage premium, which is likely to increase further as its global fame continues its upward trajectory.
New Release – Almaviva 2016, 6×75, £558, 97 Pts
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.