Chile produces some stunning wines, but at the peak of the quality pyramid there are just a few true icons. To my mind and palate, the Best of the Best list is headed by Almaviva. If ever there was wine that interweaves ripeness of the New World with the ' sense of place' of the old, this is the one. Don Melchor, produced by Concha y Toro, comes a very close second from a quality perspective, but this is an overt New World wine, built upon fruit concentration. Tannins used to also be to the fore but recent vintages, particularly the 2020 Don Melchor, have been more supple and elegant. Perhaps No. 3 in the list is VIK - a stellar wine from a producer who make their amphorae from their own clay, and barrels from their own oak trees! Also included in my Top 5 wines are Casa Real Reserva Especial and Errázuriz Don Maximiano.
I have followed Almaviva's progress from the outset and have been fortunate to visit the winey on several occasions, although I am well overdue for a return trip. However, I was pleased to attend The Almaviva 25th Anniversary Masterclass in London, organised by The Drinks Business and its editor-in-chief Patrick Schmitt. MW. Technical Director, Michel Friou, had flown in to explain Almaviva´s concepts, terroirs and winemaking, and to conduct the tasting. I've been to several previous Almaviva masterclasses, held by The Drinks Business, but each adds new insights, and gives the rare opportunity to taste the latest released vintage.