We continue this week of releases from the Place de Bordeaux with Almaviva 2019, a wine established in 1996 as a joint venture between Baron Philippe de Rothschild of Mouton Rothschild and the Chilean power-house Concha y Toro with the aim of producing a wine of First Growth calibre in Chile’s Maipo Valley. 2019 was a magnificent warm and dry vintage in Chile, which has been exceedingly well received by critics such as Luis Gutierrez of The Wine Advocate who awarded it 95+ points, appreciating how it is, ‘full-bodied and round, with saturated tannins, tasty, spicy and long, with a dry, serious finish. It’s balsamic, with notes of camphor and a silky and velvety texture.’ James Suckling found much to admire in its ‘aromas of iodine and blackcurrants with roses and lavender make the wine extremely perfumed. It’s full-bodied with a tight, fine-tannined palate that shows linear flow through the center palate. It’s vertical and integrated, adding depth and serious quality to the wine’ bestowing it with a 97 point score. It releases today at the price of £648 per case of 6 IB, a price which remains a mere fraction of its First Growth peers in Bordeaux as well as being less than half the price of this week’s Opus One release despite its strong shared international demand.
We are also very pleased to introduce for the first time, Almaviva’s second wine EPU. EPU is produced from the same exceptional vines and terroir of Almaviva in Puente Alto, which is known as one of the coolest areas of Chile’s Maipo Valley. Released today at just £198 per case of 6, it is the ideal introduction to the world of Almaviva at a far more accessible price point. 2019 is the first vintage with an international release through the Bordeaux Place and it has already been met with enthusiasm from critics like Gutierrez who has awarded it 93+ Points, noting it as, ‘quite intense and fruit-driven, spicy and herbal, with a creamy texture and fine-grained tannins. It’s a second wine, but they also want to do something different and Epu is perhaps a little more classical, perhaps this is more Bordeaux and Almaviva is more Chilean.’
Almaviva’s vineyard was selected from Concha y Toro’s finest Puente Alto vineyards within the Maipo Valley, which is famed for its perfect growing conditions for Cabernet Sauvignon. Almaviva was at one point under the guidance of the late Patrick Leon, who had a hand both with Mouton Rothschild and Opus One, providing even more shared ground between these three behemoths. In addition to a majority of Cabernet Sauvignon, Almaviva also includes a significant amount of Chile’s signature Carmenere grape, as well as small amounts of Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Merlot to round 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.
Almaviva is the name of the vineyard as well as 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 by way of French winemaking techniques on Chilean terroir. 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.