• Domaine: Vina Almaviva
• A.O.C.: Maipo Valley, Wine of Chile
• Classification: Chile, Maipo Valley, Puente Alto
In 1997, Baroness Philippine de Rothschild, owner of Mouton Rothschild, and Eduardo Guilisasti Tagle, owner of Viña Concha y Toro, entered into a partnership to create an exceptional Franco-Chilean wine called Almaviva.
The name Almaviva has a Hispanic sonority. It actually belongs to classical French literature: Count Almaviva is the hero of The Marriage of Figaro, the famous play by Beaumarchais (1732-1799), later turned into an opera by the genius of Mozart. The label bearing the name Almaviva is in Beaumarchais’ own handwriting.
Though not claimed by the owners, the referral to a play reminds a curiously minded observer of the successful theatrical career left behind by the Baroness Philippine de Rothschild to assume leadership at her father's business when he died. Her stewardship of the venerable Bordeaux estate plus her success in breaking new grounds led her to be made an Officier of the Légion d'Honneur in 2007. In 2013, she was given a lifetime achievement award by the Institute of Masters of Wine.
Almaviva was intentionally chosen to pay homage to Chile’s ancestral history, with three reproductions of a stylized design, which symbolizes the vision of the earth and the cosmos in the Mapuche civilization. The design appears on the kultrun, a ritual drum used by the Mapuche. Two great traditions thus join hands to offer the whole world a promise of pleasure and excellence.
"2012 was particularly dry in Puente Alto, the main appellation in Maipo where the 2012 Almaviva was produced. There was two-thirds of the normal rain and an early season in all senses: bud breaking to harvest, although the end of the picking was delayed and the late-ripening varieties, Carménère and Cabernet, were picked at cooler temperatures. Being close to the Andes Mountains, the zone is always later than other zones like Colchagua. It kind of became normal with lower temperatures in April after a very warm March and things slowed down. The blend in 2012 was 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 24% Carménère, 8% Cabernet Franc, 2% Petit Verdot and 1% /Merlot. The grapes are never pumped, and fermented in stainless steel vats with a total cuvaison of three to four weeks. The wine matured in 78% new French oak barrels for 19 months. As almost 90% of the grapes were picked at cooler temperatures, the wine does not really show in excess the heat of the vintage, certainly less than in other warm vintages in the past. There are notes of Mediterranean herbs and hints of tree bark over a core of ripe berries. The particularity of this terroir is to be able to achieve freshness because of its proximity to the mountains, and the ripening is slow. Winemaker Michel Friou tells me that 2012 is somehow similar to 2015, where the record temperatures in March were again surpassed. This 2012 is quite approachable, with its round and abundant tannins and soft acidity, flavors of ripe berries, good freshness and balance." - Luis Gutiérrez, Robert Parker's Wine Advocate (12/30/2015, Issue 222), Ratings: 93
Effective October 18, 2019, the US Trade Representative's Office imposed a new 25% value-added tax (i.e., import tariffs) on a wide range of European products (including French wine, Italian cheese and single malt Scotch whisky) to penalize EU subsidies for Airbus. EU has made counter-claims agains the US subsidies for Boeing. A ruling by WTO on EU's counter-claims is expected in the spring of 2020.
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