Second wine of Almaviva, and the warmth of the 2020 vintage has given the blackberry and damson fruits a sweet, textured richness that is velvety, silky, almost overwhelming but just staying in balance. Powerful and easy to drink, no need to wait too long to begin drinking although it will certainly benefit from a few hours in a carafe. Winemaker Michel Friou.
Drink 2023 - 2028
Jane Anson, janeanson.com (Jun 2022)
The current release of their second wine is the 2020 Epu. It's selected from the same terroir and vineyard in Puente Alto, one of the most reputed places for Cabernet Sauvignon in Chile, but from the younger vines (five- to 20-year-old vines) and harvested a little earlier to preserve acidity and fruit. In the warm and dry 2020 vintage, the wine was produced with a blend of 81% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12% Carmenere, 5% Merlot and 2% Cabernet Franc, usually higher in Cabernet and lower in Carmenere than Almaviva. It has red ripe berries, the textbook blackberries and cassis and some creamy oak. It's ripe at 14.8% alcohol and has mellow acidity, good freshness and balance, with a pH of 3.71 and 4.8 grams of acidity (tartaric). It matured for 12 months in French barriques, 10% new and 90% second use. The wine has a bright nose with a clean note of baked "morrón" peppers intermixed with red berry compote. It has a velvety plate with the luxurious texture of the modern Bordeaux, with abundant, slightly dusty tannins. It's approachable and round but should reward some time in bottle. This is a pretty serious Epu. 75,000 bottles produced. It was bottled at the end of 2021 and the first days of 2022. This is the second vintage sold through the Place de Bordeaux négociant system.
Drink 2023 - 2030
Luis Gutiérrez, Wine Advocate (Aug 2022)
Lots of finely roasted sweet spice and roasted sesame to the blackberries, cassis and iron, together with hints of blue fruit and cured meat. A medium-to full-bodied palate, filled with rather generous sweet berries. Fleshy, supple and savory with quite fine-grained tannins and a long finish. First year with 10% new wood. 81% cabernet sauvignon, 12% carmenere, 5% merlot and 2% cabernet franc. Already delicious, but can hold, too.
James Suckling, jamessuckling.com (May 2022)
About this WINE
Almaviva was established in 1996 by Baron Philippe de Rothschild of Château Mouton-Rothschild and Concha y Toro. Their aim was to create the first Bordeaux Grand Cru Classé equivalent in Chile. With 40 hectares of Concha y Toro's best Puente Alto vineyards being dedicated to the task and the steady hand of Patrick Leon (winemaker at Mouton and Opus One), the results have been nothing short of spectacular.
Located in the Maipo Valley, in Chile's central zone, Puente Alto was recognized over twenty years ago as offering ideal conditions for growing the Cabernet Sauvignon grape. It is here that 85 hectares have been reserved exclusively for Almaviva.
Characteristic features of Puente Alto include its stony soil, cold, rainy winters, and the hot days and cool nights of its summers. The Almaviva vineyard is tended with meticulous care from pruning to harvest. A revolutionary underground drip irrigation system has been installed, making it possible to deliver the precise amount of water that each vine needs with a constant concern for quality.
Maipo Valley, the northernmost within Central Valley, is one of Chile's most prominent wine regions. It is located east of San Antonio and Casablanca Valley and north of Rapel Valley, and is nestled between two mountain ranges, the Andes and the Coastal Mountains, with Chile's capital city, Santiago, sitting in the middle.
Maipo is renown for its exceptional Cabernet Sauvignon, ripe, subtle, spicy and complex with its signature, powerful eucalyptus and blackcurrant flavours. It amounts for over 60% of the regions 10,000ha. Merlot, Chardonnay and Carmenere are also important.
Cabernet Sauvignon Blend
Cabernet Sauvignon lends itself particularly well in blends with Merlot. This is actually the archetypal Bordeaux blend, though in different proportions in the sub-regions and sometimes topped up with Cabernet Franc, Malbec, and Petit Verdot.
In the Médoc and Graves the percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon in the blend can range from 95% (Mouton-Rothschild) to as low as 40%. It is particularly suited to the dry, warm, free- draining, gravel-rich soils and is responsible for the redolent cassis characteristics as well as the depth of colour, tannic structure and pronounced acidity of Médoc wines. However 100% Cabernet Sauvignon wines can be slightly hollow-tasting in the middle palate and Merlot with its generous, fleshy fruit flavours acts as a perfect foil by filling in this cavity.
In St-Emilion and Pomerol, the blends are Merlot dominated as Cabernet Sauvignon can struggle to ripen there - when it is included, it adds structure and body to the wine. Sassicaia is the most famous Bordeaux blend in Italy and has spawned many imitations, whereby the blend is now firmly established in the New World and particularly in California and Australia.