• Domaine: Vina Almaviva
• Appellation: Maipo Valley, Wine of Chile
• Classification: Maipo Valley, Puente Alto, Chile
• Importer: Laguna Cellar
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.
The label of 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.
"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." - Luis Gutiérrez, Robert Parker's Wine Advocate (8/31/2020, Issue 250), Ratings: 96, Drink: 2020-2035
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.
For any Futures (en primeur) and Pre-Arrival items, our current prices are shown before taxes and tariffs. Prior to shipment, we may have to collect any tariffs levied by the US government at the time. Tariffs will be based on the date of importation and the rate of US tariffs in place at the time. Current rules exempt wines with alcohol content above 14.5% from the newly imposed 25% tariffs. We will offer free storage in our professional wine cellar in Bordeaux in the event of any delay in importation caused by the uncertainties created by tariffs.
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