Saturday, December 5, 2009

2003 Almaviva: A Wine For Roasts

For Sunday dinner recently, we had a tenderloin roast with some roasted fingerling potatoes. I perused my wine list, seeking a bottle to accompany our meal. I wanted a Cabernet Sauvignon based wine, something hearty, and had plenty of available choices. After pondering my options, I decided to take a bit of a chance with the 2003 Almaviva.

Why a chance? Because this Cabernet Sauvignon blend had a significant portion of Carmenere and Cabernet Franc, which meant to me the possibility that it could have a strong green/vegetal flavor. It had been a gift a couple years ago and I figured it was as good a time as any to open it.

The 2003 Almaviva ($79.99) has an interesting pedigree. Baron Philippe de Rothschild SA. of France and Concha y Toro S.A. of Chile formed a partnership to create this wine, the first release being back in 1998. The name, Almaviva, derives from French literature, the name of the hero of The Marriage of Figaro, a famous play by Beaumarchais. The label bears a stylized design, symbolizing the vision of the earth and the cosmos in the Mapuche civilization of Chile. The vineyard is located in Puente Alto in the Maipo Valley of Chile, considering an excellent area for growing Cabernet Sauvignon.

This wine is a blend of 73% Cabernet Sauvignon, 24% Carmenère, and 3% Cabernet Franc. It spent 18 months aging in new French oak. The 2003 vintage was supposed to be an excellent year.

It had a dark, purple color with an enticing nose of ripe plum, dark spice and a bit of smokiness. And no hint of vegetal smells. On the palate it was impressive, seeming very much like a fine, young French Bordeaux. Its complex flavors excited my mouth, including plum, fig, blackberry, vanilla, spice, smoke, and leather. And once again, no vegetal flavors! A big wine but nicely balanced with its acidity and tannins, nothing overwhelming my palate, but instead meshed well in a harmonious blend. A very lengthy, smooth and delicious finish. The wine was a perfect accompaniment to the tenderloin.

Though pricey, this is a wine that delivered with its high quality. My experience is also significant in showing how any day can warrant a special wine. This was just a regular Sunday dinner, no special holiday or event. But I decided to open one of my most expensive bottles of wine, something to savor with our meal. I have encouraged people before to open special wines at any time, to simply celebrate life and not save their wines for special occasions that might never arise. Most recently, Randy over at the Wine Whore blog echoed the same sentiment.

Drink with passion!


The Wine Whore said...

I am very impressed!

Not only does the wine sound breathtaking, and I am sure it was... but I also know how hard it can be to crack into that special bottle, that golden gem that's just been patiently waiting to be revealed to the world!

Cheers to you! Today I celebrate your passion for the grape!

Richard Auffrey said...

Thanks very much! We just can't let so special bottles sit around year after year gathering dust. We need to drink and enjoy them.

The Wine Whore said...


I read somewhere that the worst thing anyone could do would be to have their wine collection outlive them... kinda morbid and made me think, but very true!