Source: James suckling (JS-98)
This is such a beautifully nuanced red with tobacco, dried herbs, wet earth and currants. Some leather and rose petals, too. Full-bodied and chewy, yet refined with great polish. It’s rich and intense at the same time. Very focused center palate. Broad layers of tannin and fruit. A blend of 72% cabernet sauvignon, 19% carmenere, 6% cabernet franc and 3% petit verdot. Better after 2024, but already a joy to taste.
Source: Issue 250 End of August 2020, The Wine Advocate, Issue Date: 30th Aug 2020 (RP-96)
My last Chile article questioned whether 2018 had been the best vintage of the last 20 years in the country, so I was very curious to taste the 2018 Almaviva. 2018 was a cooler year with more rain and a later budding and ripening of the grapes, especially in a cooler terroir close to the Andes, as is the case with Almaviva. The harvest was slow, as temperatures went down, further increasing the balance between freshness and ripeness of the grapes. The varietal breakdown is 72% Cabernet Sauvignon, 19% Carmenère (from Peumo), 6% Cabernet Franc and 3% Petit Verdot. The grapes ripened thoroughly, as the 14.9% alcohol of the final blend shows, a little higher than previous years and with similar readings of acidity. The wine feels quite complete and nicely crafted; they use all of their resources and technology to select the perfect grapes that ferment pristinely destemmed and crushed in stainless steel tanks at 25 to 28 degrees Celsius, mostly with selected yeasts. Malolactic was part in barrique and part in tank during the alcoholic fermentation. It matured for 18 months in French oak barrels, 73% of them new and the remaining 27% second use. It's a solid, well-built and seamless Almaviva, with clout and balance. 2018 was a more homogeneous vintage, globally considered one of the best in recent times in Chile. They identify a great vintage when they see more homogeneous quality in their different wines, and winemaker Michel Friou explained that this year some wines from three- or four-year-old vines were really good. It feels like a very complete wine, from a year when the seasons were marked and when the plant followed the development with almost textbook conditions—the grapes ripened thoroughly, developing more flavors and nuances while keeping the freshness. This is still a baby, extremely young and creamy, but it is still approachable; there are no edges, but what's remarkable is the balance and stuffing and all the necessary ingredients for a great development in bottle. This is quite different from 2016; it's a vintage with power and clout, a wine that has fruit and intensity and is balanced, without the concentration and tannins of the 2017. It’s a more complete year that combines the finesse of 2016 with more thorough ripeness. The spicy and peppery character comes through with some time in the glass. 200,000 bottles produced. It was bottled during the last week of January 2020.
Drink Date: 2020 - 2035
CABERNET SAUVIGNON - 72%
CARMÉNÈRE - 19%
CABERNET FRANC - 6%
PETIT VERDOT - 3%
Barrel Aging: 18 Months, New French Oak.
The vintage 2018 in Chile was magnificent, one of the best of the decade, recognized for its exceptional quality, balance and complexity.
The vintage was rainier than average with 300 mm in Puente Alto between May and October 2017, compared to the historical average of 281 mm. During the same winter period, the temperatures were lower than usual, resulting in bud break occurring a few days later than average.
The temperatures increased significantly in November, reaching higher levels in December than in four previous years. The heat increased the growth and the vigor of the vines, initiating important precision work in the vineyard.
The veraison started later than average on the 3rd week of January, but was incredibly fast and homogeneous. Although the initial stages were hinting at a late harvest, picking started on March 26th for the Merlot and on April 2nd for the Cabernet Sauvignon, one week earlier than usual. Benefiting from the progressive decrease of temperature to maintain a great balance between freshness and ripeness, the grapes were picked over a long period of 9 weeks, until the last Carmenere was brought in on May 24th.
Vintage 2018 resulted in the perfect combination between a generous harvest and a tremendously high level of quality on all our Bordeaux varieties.
Attractive dark ruby color, deep and opaque.
The nose is pure, focused and layered, revealing delicate and clean aromas of blackberries, ripe cassis, currants and violet, associated with fine notes of tobacco, cedar and coffee bean.
The mouth shows outstanding amplitude and balance, luscious texture, bright acidity, broad structure and
persistence. The tannins are well refined, smooth and silky, enhancing the fresh and juicy character of the year. Precise and polished, the wine combines harmonious elegance, richness, ripeness and freshness in an exceptional and superb vintage.