The 2013 Almaviva couldn't have had a more different growing season from 2012, as 2013 was wetter and cooler than the average. It was a good year for Cabernet Sauvignon, which took the leading role with a 72% in the final blend alongside 19% CarmenÃ¨re (a grape that tends to suffer in cooler years), 6% Cabernet Franc, 2% Petit Verdot and 1% Merlot. It had a classical vinification in stainless steel and an Ã©levage of 18 months in 74% new French barriques. In the last few years, the blend comes from approximately two-thirds older vines (37-years-old) and one-third from younger ones (11-years-old); for other parts of the world, this might seem young, but in this part of Chile where the vines do not tend to have a long life, they are relatively old. 2013 was also a higher yielding vintage, which somehow helped produce balanced juice. The wine is fresher and more fluid, not as concentrated as previous vintages. It has a subtle nose with very nicely integrated spicy aromas from the Ã©levage. The palate is very approachable, soft and velvety, with very good balance and a fine texture because of the very fine tannins. In a way it reminds me of the texture of the 2006, which is possibly the most Burgundian of their vintages. Yes, it's still a baby, but a baby that is approachable from now on, and should have a long life and development in bottle. 165,000 bottles were filled between January 5th and 14th of 2015.
I met again with winemaker Michel Friou to taste the current releases, 2012 and 2013, and review some of the older vintages, which is always interesting to see the evolution of the wine in bottle. This time we reviewed 2006, 2007 and 2008, all still very young and lively. Coincidentally, I crossed paths with a bottle of 1998 a mere couple of days before our meeting, and while the aromas of the early vintages were there, the wine was very lively and fresh (it had been the wettest and coolest vintage ever). The aging potential is still to be assessed, but seems quite long, no less than 20 years. The focus in the last few years has been on the vineyards, increasing the density of planting and taking a more organic approach, a work that they see as something for the future generations. 2013 is a cool vintage that produced a very elegant wine. In general, the last few vintages have been quite consistent, without major qualitative differences, perhaps also because this is a blend and the effect of the vintage can be somehow compensated by changing the percentages of the different grapes.