If you're looking for one of the finest densely-packed Cabernet Sauvignon-based wines in the spirit of Bordeaux and Napa greats, look no further than the recently arrived 2017 Almaviva! This is a wine that regularly makes it onto top wine lists (the previous vintage was on Wine Spectators' top 10 for 2019), and this vintage will be no exception. In fact, James Suckling gave it a perfect score! As you can see, this is no fruit bomb, but excites the palate and the imagination with brambly vine-fruit accompanied by classic herbal and mineral qualities.
JAMES SUCKLING 100 POINTS - "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."
Since 1998 Almaviva has been the sole wine of the Almaviva winery in Chile, just as the flagship wines of Bordeaux are known by the name of the chateau, and is a collaboration between the famous Baron Philippe de Rothschild company and the Chilean powerhouse Concha y Toro (it's named for the character Count Almaviva in the French play by Beaumarchais, The Marriage of Figaro, which Mozart famously made into an opera).
The complex flavors and textures of Almaviva are built by blending separately-vinified Cabernet Sauvignon with a significant amount of Carmenere, followed by small amounts of Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, and Merlot, and then by aging in French oak barrels for 19 months, which promotes a more elegant mouthfeel and adds subtle spices. This was a warmer growing season than 2016, resulting in a slightly softer and rounder mouthfeel, which means it's a little more approachable. Nevertheless, like most great wines, this is one that will reward patient cellaring as it unwinds and grows in complexity and elegance through the years, though with a long time in the decanter and a great meal, you can always enjoy it earlier!