Vinexpo HK masterclass: Y Viva Almaviva

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6th December, 2016 by Patrick Schmitt - This article is over multiple pages: 1 2 3

BALANCED

4Yang Lu, corporate wine director at Shangri-La Hotels, spoke about the balanced character of Almaviva: “The 2006 is amazingly fresh and young, it has lot of intensity on the palate, and a consistency from the beginning to the finish, which is a sign of a great wine.

“Most people have the perception that New World wines are powerful and jammy, but this is very elegant and balanced with minerality and restraint – you can use this glass to wow your guests. And the last thing is the price.

Almaviva

> Almaviva was established in 1996 by Baron Philippe de Rothschild of Château Mouton-Rothschild and Concha y Toro. Their aim was to create the first Bordeaux Grand Cru Classé equivalent in Chile using grapes from the best Puente Alto vineyards.

> Puente Alto, located in the Maipo Valley, was recognized over 20 years ago as offering ideal conditions for growing the Cabernet Sauvignon grape. It is here that 85 hectares have been reserved exclusively for Almaviva. The characteristic features of Puente Alto include its stony soil, cold, rainy winters, and the hot days and cool nights of its summers.

> During the masterclass, the following seven vintages of Almaviva were presented, using wine direct from the producer’s cellars, and stored in magnums: 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2008, 2010, 2013.

It is top, top wine, the crème de la crème from Chile, but if you think of the cult wines of California, the first growths, or the Super Tuscans, not many can afford them. Almaviva offers so much value for the guests, which is a further tool for promoting it.”

POTENTIAL

Asked about the potential for Chilean fine wines in China. Yeung said: “High-end Chilean wines and particularly Almaviva have a market, and that’s because Almaviva’s Chinese name translates as ‘living soul’.Franco Yeung, general manager of Jointek Fine Wines was quick to agree, reminding attendees that a bottle of Almaviva is about the same as a bottle of Dom Pérignon – and, as Ch’ng commented, “a bottle of Dom Pérignon is finished in five minutes, while a bottle of Almaviva takes at least one hour.”

“So people see that, and instantly they are interested in purchasing it, and for gifting, it works.

“For each category, and each country, the top of the top always has a market in China – and Almaviva is the best from Chile.”

In addition, for Yeung, Almaviva, which today produces between 15,000 and 17,000 cases of wine annually – similar to a First Growth – offers an “investment potential for the future.”

Looking back over the seven vintages that had been tasted, Ballesteros said: “Having gone through the process of tasting the different vintages, I can see that the 1998 and 2000 have a more Bordeaux character, which comes from our French team working hand in hand with our people in Chile, and from 2006 I can see Almaviva building its own character and style.

“It is not a Bordeaux and it is certainly not a fruity Chilean wine but something that seems to balance the best of both worlds.”

For Ch’ng, the different character of Almaviva depending on the vintage was a sign that this was truly a fine wine. “A great winemaker is very sensitive: like a sensitive parent, you can’t treat all your children same way, and you can’t treat every vintage the same way – if you did, you will not make sensitive wine but a recipe wine,” Ch’ng said.

Concluding he said, “The technical team from Mouton-Rothschild are involved in Almaviva, and that’s because they sense that there is something special here, something unique, and something that is worthy of ageing and translating into a great wine.”

Returning to his opening point, Ch’ng said that he hoped that after their tasting, the Hong Kong audience who had participated in the masterclass would now become ambassadors of Almaviva.

Judging by the applause from the attendees, that hope had already become a reality.

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