September sees the release of the three leading Chilean wines, Clos Apalta, Almaviva and Sena. Each of the three have been awarded a perfect 100 point score from James Suckling, making them in enormous demand and hugely collectible. Almaviva and Clos Apalta released today and have already sold out on the Place de Bordeaux. As such, we are very pleased to be able to offer them. Almaviva 2015 surpasses the 2014 and 2013 vintages, and priced at £470 per case of six offers one of the lowest ever 100 point wines. The 2015 displays intense complexity which Suckling describes as possessing, ‘a glorious and complex nose of tobacco, blackberries and hints of stones and flowers. Hints of bitter chocolate.’ It is an incredible proposition that this powerhouse offers a 100 point wine with a Price Over Points score of 45. Clos Apalta, however, eclipses even Almaviva’s value ratio. With a 100 point score to match Almaviva, it presents a remarkable opportunity, a wine on release with a 100 point score priced at £395 per case of six. I have never seen a perfect scoring wine at £65 per bottle at first tranche release price. Needless to say, both are musts for any portfolio. In addition, our special offer price for a case of each is mouthwatering.
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 has been to fashion the same in Chile and in 2015 it has achieved that, marching to a perfect score, set to rival the First Growths themselves. In 2015, the blend is 69% Cabernet Sauvignon, 24% Carmenere, 5% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot, making it a quintessential Left Bank Bordeaux Blend. The 97 scoring 2014 trades at £485, the 2015 stands out now and will continue to do so.
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.
Almaviva 2015, 6×75 – £470 IB
100 Points, James Suckling
A glorious and complex nose of tobacco, blackberries and hints of stones and flowers. Hints of bitter chocolate. Full-bodied, very tight and compacted. Linear backbone gives this form and tension. It has the same character on the palate as well as cayenne and other spice. Loved the 2014 but this shows more fine-grained tannins. So balanced and harmonious. A blend of 69% cabernet sauvignon, 24% carmenere, 5% cabernet franc and 2% petit verdot. Needs four or five years in bottle but a joy to taste now.
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Clos Apalta 2014 is a truly exciting release. Clos Apalta has 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 points score in 2014 is a game changer, Clos Apalta has been jettisoned to global stardom. It is noteworthy, albeit irrelevant in this context that the 2009 trades at £460 per case of six and the 2006 £540. Irrelevant, because the 100 point score in 2014 makes it an outlier.
This accolade and 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.
Lapostelle 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 then bottled unfined and unfiltered.
The result of this uncompromising commitment to quality in the vineyard and in the winery result 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.
Clos Apalta 2014 – 6×75 – £395 IB
100 Points, James Suckling
An extremely aromatic and focused Clos Apalta with blackberry, blueberry, floral and hot stone character. Full body, very linear and ultra-fine tannins. Focused and tight. Precise and long. This is the most polished and beautiful definition of this wine ever. You want to drink it now but better in 2020. A blend of carmenere, cabernet sauvignon and merlot.
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