Peter Maude Fine Wines

2021, Almaviva, MAIPO VALLEY, Chile


Blend: 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 23% Carménère, 5% Cabernet Franc,
5% Petit Verdot, 2% Merlot.

A stunning example of Almaviva, shot through with the generosity and restrained spice of Cabernet Sauvignon and Carmanère in Puente Alto. Coffee bean, liquorice and cocoa set the tone on the opening beats, showing the restrained glamour that the partnership of SA Baron Philippe de Rothschild and Concha Y Toro do so well. Plenty of fruit here, majoring on blackcurrant and damson, with just enough brambled blackberry buds and autumn hedgerow adding a welcome note of both bitterness and fragrance, cutting through the sleek ripeness of the palate, excellent reflection of the balanced weather in the 2021 vintage, with no challenging heat spikes. Winemaker Michel Friou. 75% new oak. 97/100 Jane Anson, Sept 2023.

The 2021 Almaviva is a blend primarily based on Cabernet Sauvignon and Carmenere, but not limited to these, and was aged for up to 18 months in French barrels. Its colour is garnet with a purple sheen. The enticing nose showcases blackberry, cassis marmalade, black and green pepper, ashes, camphor and cigar box aromas. Indulgent and rich on the palate, it carries taut, fine-grained tannins, velvet texture and balanced acidity, leading to a long, ripe finish. This bold and layered red wine reveals nuanced depth and richness on the palate, promising further development as it matures in the bottle. 96 Joaquín Hidalgo, Vinous, June 2023.

2021 was an overall cooler year than 2020, with more elegant wines with more finesse and less angular tannins. The sleek 2021 Almaviva is a good example of that, still very young and still marked by the élevage in oak after spending 20 months in French oak barrels, 71% of them new and the rest only second use. The fruit is dark, ripe and spicy, nothing green about it; it's a little shy, less expressive than the warmer years are early on and a little more discreet but with potential to develop in bottle. The tannins are still present, and it should benefit from some more time in bottle. I tasted it next to the 2020 and 2018, and it's closer to the latter; but this 2021 is more elegant, and 2018 is a little more austere and herbal. 96+ Luis Guti?rrez, Wine Advocate.

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