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September 03, 2019

New Release – Clos Apalta 2016, 6×75, £426, 99 Pts

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We are happy to release the latest vintage from Clos Apalta, the brilliant 2016. This marks its highest ever score from The Wine Advocate with 96 points from Luis Gutierrez. Indeed, it is one of the highest ever scoring wines of Chile from this publication. This is followed up with 99 points from James Suckling who calls it ‘breathtaking’. It is the finest Carmenere dominant blend in the world and a pillar of Chilean wine-making. It is priced today at £426 per case of six.

Clos Apalta is a wine of pedigree, having featured three times in the top three of the Wine Spectator’s Top 100 Wines and is the only Southern Hemisphere wine – other than the Grange 1995 – to win the number one spot. In 2000, it came third and in 2001, second. However, it was the 2005 vintage which was awarded the number one spot and rated at 96 points by James Suckling. Evidently, the perfect 100 point score in 2015 is a game changer, Clos Apalta has been jettisoned to global stardom. The brand is going from strength to strength every year. Since the release of the 2014 last year, the last ten vintages have increased on average 14%.These two perfect scores and its sustained critical acclaim means that Clos Apalta joins Sena and Almaviva as one of three truly great Chilean wines. Of these three, Clos Apalta is the wine most true to Chilean winemaking, made 70% by its flagship red grape, Carmenere. The rest is formed of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and a splash of Petit Verdot. Carmenere tends towards delicacy and fragrance and in the Clos Apalta vineyard it adds incredible power and structure. Michel Rolland oversees the winemaking and therefore it comes as no surprise that the Carmenere’s elegance and complexity is combined with the Bordeaux varieties; Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot and Rolland’s signature grape, Merlot. Clos Apalta is therefore the world’s leading Carmenere wine and successfully combines with Merlot forming the apotheosis of the Chilean flagship variety.

Lapostolle was founded in 1994 by Alexandra Marnier Lapostolle and her husband, Cyril de Bournet, the founders and owners of the liqueur, Grand Marnier. They have made a fortune from this, however the family had been primarily involved in winemaking for generations. Clos Apalta was their ambitious project to create a truly world class wine which combines the best of Chile with the best of Bordeaux; this has certainly been accomplished!

The Clos Apalta vineyard is situated high in the Colchagua Valley, near the town of Cunaco, near Santa Cruz. This location ensures a long, moderated growing season, lending it both tremendous power and intensity. It is grown from ungrafted vines, nearly 100 years old and some of the oldest in the world. This is truly amazing and the wines produce incredible flavour profiles. The grapes are hand-picked and manually de-stemmed, then fermented slowly in French oak, with native yeasts giving it a tremendous sense of terroir. After four weeks of maceration, it is gravity-racked into new French oak barrels, where it is matured for 28 months to reinforce the wine’s structure and it is bottled unfined and unfiltered. The result of this uncompromising commitment to quality in the vineyard and in the winery results in a wine that combines dense flavour with opulence and fragrance. It boasts juicy fruit, with super ripe tannin, Asian spices and leather. The finish provides beautiful chocolate flavour and liquorice. Clos Apalta is true to Chile and in being so offers something unique and desirable.

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