We also visited the Franco Chilean vineyard Almaviva, resulting from a partnership between Baron Philippe de Rothschild and Vina Concha y Toro. The name "Almaviva" has its origins in France since it comes from the Beaumarchais play "Le mariage de Figaro", in which Almaviva is the hero.
The Almaviva vineyard is located in Puento Alto, in the highest part of the Maipo Valley (in the center of Chile) and has 60 hectares of vines.
The Maipo Valley is one of Chile's most prestigious winegrowing regions, the vines grow on stony and poor soils, perfect for the production of quality, balanced and elegant wines.
Thanks to a rather cold and rainy winter climate in this part of the country and its altitude, the vineyard allows a fairly long period of grapes maturity which helps to obtain a great final quality. Thus, Almaviva wines represent two cultures: Chile offers its soil, climate and vineyard, while France brings its know-how and traditions in wine.
our time at almaviva
During the day, we met Loïc, a winemaker at Almaviva, who’ve presented us their beautiful vineyard, impressive cellar and we had the chance to have a tasting session of two of their wines. In the vineyard, we could see how they were preparing the coming harvest and we’ve been impressed by their precision: even within one block, they could decide not to harvest at the same time because they considered that some grapes were not quite ripe yet. Then, we visited the modern winery that is built around a gravity system, intended to foster a more gentle handling of the grapes. Hand-sorting and pressing take place on the mezzanine level, before the juice is transferred to fermentation tanks below by gravity alone. They also use an optical robot to sort grapes and waste (even after it has been hand-sorted!) with a great accuracy: you can set parameters such as colours, shape or size of the berries you’re looking for! Finally, they grow and age their wines in oak barrels.
We then had the chance to taste two of their wins. Almaviva belongs to Chile's elite and one of their wines (Almaviva 2015) was ranked best in the world by James Suckling!
Finally, we met Elba, a woman winemaker from the estate, whom we interviewed to get her testimony on the place of women in Chile in the wine industry.