Almaviva 2017, Puento Alto
The Wine of the Decade for James Suckling – a powerful and structure wine to stand the test of time
Only 6 left in stock
Bordeaux Blend, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Other Varietals
Indulgence, Icon & Invest
|Critics Top Rating||
In 1997, Baroness Philippine de Rothschild, Chairman of the Advisory Board of Baron Philippe de Rothschild SA, and Eduardo Guilisasti Tagle, Chairman of Viña Concha y Toro S.A., sealed a partnership agreement with a view to create an exceptional Franco-Chilean wine called Almaviva. The rest is history. Not only did the 2017 vintage achieve a perfect score from James Suckling, it was awarded the prestigious Wine of the Decade designation. You’ll want to make room on your top shelf for some of these bottles winelovers…
The wine has been a labor of love by chief winemaker Michel Friou, a Chilean industry veteran and native Frenchman who joined the single-wine estate in 2007.
The presence of carmenere derived from a happy accident. Back in 1978, the estate originally thought it planted merlot and cabernet sauvignon vines as its two primary varietals. But, due to a nationwide mix-up across Chile’s vineyards, the estate later learned that their merlot vines were actually carmenere.
The accidental inclusion of carmenere created a unique legacy for Almaviva’s single-estate wines, which are neither wholly New World nor Old World, but somewhere in between. It works beautifully in the glass, too: the winery has scooped up several 94-plus scores from James Suckling over the past decade, achieving his highest praise twice in two years. “We are so cognizant of what we need to do to make great wines,” Friou says. “It’s about small changes. It’s all about the details.”
Blend – 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 23% Carmenere, 5% Cabernet Franc, 5% Petit Verdot, 2% Merlot
Ageing – 19 months in new French oak
The 2017 Vintage: “Despite an overall great vintage, the 2017 harvest was notably marked by atypical climatic conditions. Although the total rainfall (315mm) was rather normal between April 2016 and April 2017, most of the natural hydric resources were derived from unusual early rains, between April and July 2016 (249mm). Little to no rain was then registered from August 2016 to April 2017. Average temperatures were also significantly high, registering 1°C to 2.5°C above average from August 2016 until harvest with absolute temperatures reaching up to 36°C (96.8°F) in November and January.
These extremely dry and warm conditions generated a very early vintage. All phenological stages occurred two to three weeks earlier than usual, including the harvest, which commenced on March 9th with Merlot. The first Cabernet Sauvignon followed on March 20th and continued throughout April with the last of the Cabernet Sauvignon and Carménère intake on April 27th.
Severe draught and heat contributed to dramatically low yields. Yet despite these extremes, the overall vintage resulted in superb quality and purity of fruit, with small berries of great concentration, character and acidity.”
Deep, intense and opaque ruby red. The nose reveals a generous, powerful and layered bouquet of ripe cassis and blackberries, interwoven with hints of mineral, fine notes of vanilla, coffee, black pepper and earth. Dense and full-bodied, the wine fills the mouth with round, ripe and refined tannins, leaving an overall impression of balance and persistence. Produced from an extremely warm, but superb vintage, this well-structured wine of balanced acidity strikes a wonderful combination of elegance and power, with a very promising long aging potential.
James Suckling – 100 points
1 Apr, 2019 – The aromas of blackberry leaves and iodine are wild and exotic here with mussel shells and earth underneath. Full-bodied, tight and chewy with powerful tannins that show muscle. It’s structured and powerful. Dense and very, very deep. Don’t touch this until 2025.
Decanter – 97 points
A Bordeaux blend, dominated by Cabernet Sauvignon (65%) and Carmenère (25%). Power and concentration, elegance and balance. Exuberant aromas of cassis, damson plums and peppers. The palate is complex with cigar box, dark fruit and herbal notes framed by dense and polished tannins, finely integrated oak and finishing on a remarkable lifted length. A wine that will benefit from decanting or laying down. Drinking Window 2024 – 2034
Wine Enthusiast – 94 points
A ruby color with rusty edges and aromas of plum, cherry, cassis, olive, chocolate and spice make for an exciting opening. A structured palate is solid in feel but not hard, while this Cabernet- led blend tastes of ripe plum and currant along with oak-based spice. A full finish is generous but mellow, meaning this is drinkable now but should improve over the next several years; drink through 2026.
Robert Parker Wine Advocate – 94+ points
I retasted the 2016 and 2017 next to the current 2018 to get some comparisons. Tasting the three years side by side, the 2017 Almaviva is clearly the one with more herbal notes and lots of concentration. It was a warm year with low yields and high concentration, but funnily enough, there are more herbaceous notes in the wine. This is a year of power and concentration, but the tannins are nicely coated by juicy fruit.
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