Vina Almaviva Puente Alto 2018
JS98: This is such a beautifully nuanced red with tobacco, dried herbs, wet earth and currants. Some leather and rose petals, too. Full-bodied and chewy, yet refined with great polish. It’s rich and intense at the same time. Very focused center palate. Broad layers of tannin and fruit. A blend of 72% cabernet sauvignon, 19% carmenere, 6% cabernet franc and 3% petit verdot. Better after 2024, but already a joy to taste.
WA96: 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.