A Chilean Fine Wine Icon Brand with An Impressive Track Record – Tasting a Mini Almaviva Vertical with Michel Friou in London…

Established more than 20 years ago by the Concha y Toro family’s joint venture with the Baron Philippe de Rothschild group, Almaviva can be regarded as one of Chile’s first high quality fine wines that carries a global presence. At a recent tasting dinner hosted in London, Almaviva technical director Michel Friou presented a number of current vintages alongside older back vintages to illustrate the wines pedigree, age worthiness and consistency.

Made from grapes grown in Puente Alto in the Maipo Valley, Almaviva set out to mimic the Bordeaux chateau model making a wine from its own surrounding vineyards which have slightly higher average temperatures than Pauillac but also a much higher elevation at 630 metres and a lot lower average rainfall at 340mm.

To illustrate this Bordeaux’esque stylistic leaning, Michel Friou selected four vintages from cooler, wetter vintages that display more elegance, freshness and classical restraint. Always using Cabernet Sauvignon as the base, the blend also includes a significant percentage of Carmenere, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot since 2010.

Now distributed in Europe almost exclusively through the Bordeaux Place and by several negociants, the brand’s reach and consumer awareness have perhaps suffered as a direct result of this distribution method. While this channel to market works well for Bordeaux releases, it can prove more tricky for some new world brands. Despite this, producers such as Errazuriz (for Chadwick and Sena) and Lapostolle (for Clos Apalta) have all chosen to follow the Bordeaux negociant distribution channel to market.

Almaviva 2016, 14 Abv.

An intriguingly mineral and restrained expression from Chile. Dusty and lifted but boldly opulent and intense showing a fragrant bouquet of cassis leaf, black currant, charcoal embers, graphite and crushed granite minerality. A lovely piquant saline line is drawn straight down the palate and personified further by bright acids and dusty chalky tannins. An impressive, classical but forward looking Chilean expression.

(Wine Safari Score: 93/100 Greg Sherwood MW)

Almaviva 2014, 14 Abv.

A more stern, taut, linear expression, I just love the dusty, gravelly, mineral restraint with nuances of maritime oyster shell, graphite and black cherry pith. Palate is simultaneously vibrant yet strict, taut and powerful, revealing precise linearity, tension, black cherry and a pin point black fruit focus. Very impressive precision.

(Wine Safari Score: 94+/100 Greg Sherwood MW)

Almaviva 2007, 14.5 Abv.

This vintage shows a much more savoury, plush evolution of Almaviva with a nose of salted cured meats, pork scratchings, cassis and stewed black plums. The palate is full, rich and opulent, sweetly textured with massive generosity, vibrant freshly sweet black fruits and a delicious creamy breadth. Touch of alcohol heat on the bold finish, building a little more with wood spice influences. Drinking well now and over the next 3 to 5 years.

(Wine Safari Score: 92/100 Greg Sherwood MW)

Almaviva 2002, 14.5 Abv.

Finely evolved nose of sweet leather, cedar and cinnamon spice, graphite and gun smoke. Tantalisingly elegant, evolved yet retaining vibrancy. The palate reveals a lovely full fleshy expression, that is dense, earthy, savoury and sweetly fruited, finishing with rejuvenating acids and a sweet, fleshy cloak of fruit. Drinking now and over 2 to 5 years.

(Wine Safari Score: 91+/100 Greg Sherwood MW)

Errazuriz ~ Single Handedly Putting Chilean Fine Wine On The Global Map…

Vinedo Chadwick and Sena have been at the forefront of world class Chilean wine for over 20 years. Indeed I feel very privileged to have studied my Master of Wine with Errazuriz owner Eduardo Chadwick, starting back in 2003. A wonderful character, a great visionary, and highly ambitious ~ both for himself and his country, Chile. So it’s probably not surprising that the key estate brands in the Errazuriz portfolio have captured the world stage with fine wine quality never before seen out of Chile. 


Vina Chadwick, Sena and Don Maximiano (along with fellow industry high achievers Almaviva, Lapostolle Clos Apalta and Montes Alpha) have redefined the meaning of fine wine in the South American context. Congratulations Eduardo and of course group chief winemaker Francisco Baettig!

With Francisco Baettig at the UK launch of Vinedo Chadwick 2015 and Sena 2015.


Last year, Vinedo Chadwick was the first Chilean wine to crack a 100 point score when James Suckling rated the 2014 vintage. This year, it was the turn of Sena 2015 to reach this prestigious pinnacle of 100 points, with Vinedo Chadwick 2015 close behind on 99 points, both scores again  coming from critic James Suckling. 


The 2015 Sena is a blend of 57% Cabernet Sauvignon, 21% Carmenere, 12% Malbec, 7% Petit Verdot and 3% Cabernet Franc, aged 22 months in 65% new French oak and 12% in foudre, with the remaining 23% aged in used oak barrels. 


Errazuriz Sena 2015, 13.5 Abv.

Always a personal favourite of mine within the Errazuriz premium range, the Sena 2015 is a beautifully elegant and utterly refined expression of a Bordeaux blend. The very alluring, pretty aromatics of red cherry stone fruits, mulberry, black currant and blue berry almost seem boundless, with notes of saline cassis, cherry bon bons, and salty red liquorice developing in the glass as the wine unfurls. The palate is as vibrant and pin point as the wine’s aromatics, revealing incredible intensity, mouth watering acidity freshness and super sweet tart red cherry and stick candy complexity. There is profound precision and focus, admirable balance, and the finest powdery, lacy red cherry pithy tannins on the generous finish. Winemaker Francisco has nailed this above average warm vintage with earlier picked, fragrant, fresh acidity grapes. This is a wine worthy of major accolades. Make space in your cellar!

(Wine Safari Score: 97/100 Greg Sherwood MW)