Chilean wine is not unfamiliar with partnerships and Almaviva is the product of one. Just over a decade ago, in 1997 Baroness Philppine de Rothschild and Eduardo Guilisasti Tagle of Concho y Toro formed a Franco – Chilean partnership. Prior to that the Baroness had sent Patrick Lyon to Chile in search of a suitable parcel of land to grow grapes in the French tradition. Last week Rahoul B Singh met export manager, Diego Goray who was visiting India as part of a whirlwind tour.
Goray took pains to explain that the wine was made in the French tradition i.e. all the grapes come from the same terroir – Cabernet Sauvignon, Carmenere, Cabernet Franc and Merlot and 98% of Almaviva is exported, most of it through the French negociants system.
After having located 42 hectares of land with vines already on it, a further 35 hectares was bought to supplement this when the partnership was formed.. Vines were planted with at a density of approximately eight thousand plants a hectare as against the five thousand plants planted per hectare in Chile or the eleven to twelve thousand plants per hectare that is commonly planted in France.
The vineyard from where Almaviva makes its wines, Tocornal, and to which the land that had been identified belonged to, had originally given birth to Don Mechor, the much loved Chilean wine. Concho y Toro contributed a part of this parcel to the joint project. The vines on average are about twenty eight years old in the vineyard.
The Almaviva 2006 that we tasted was produced jointly by Michel Friour who is exclusively with Almaviva along with inputs from Enrique Tirado of Don Melchor (Concho y Toro) and Phillip Dhalluin the wine maker of Mouton Rothschild.
The ten thousand cases that were produced reveal a wine that had an intense ruby red color, with aromas of plum, blackberries vanilla and hints of coffee. Well balanced and with a firm tannic structure, Almaviva would initially be available in India in fine dining restaurants. The wine is being imported by Brindco who have an initial allotment of approximately 40 to 50 cases for the Indian market.