Wine Advocate: 96 points
The 2016 Clos Apalta is a blend of 64% Carménère (higher than in 2015), 19% Cabernet Sauvignon and 17% Merlot hitting the scale at 15% alcohol with a pH of 3.7. The Carménère and Cabernet were planted ungrafted in 1920, and all the vineyards are organic and biodynamic (certified) and very low yielding. The hand-destemmed grapes fermented in oak vats and barriques (17%), and the wine went through malolactic and 26 months of aging in brand new French barriques. I've seen a great improvement in Carménère in Chile in the last few years, perhaps since they stopped wanting to grow it everywhere and focused on the places where it grows well, like the Apalta region. They have also learned to tame the green aromas, fierce tannins and alcohol and to produce much more harmonious reds, like this aromatic example that reveals spice, tobacco leaves, red fruit and floral notes without noticeable alcohol or excess ripeness. The oak is surprisingly well integrated for such a young wine, and there is harmony, concentration and balance to make it age in bottle for a long time. The palate is full-bodied, and the tannins are fine-grained and in balance with the rest of the components, coming through as a compact and powerful yet elegant red. This has to be one of the finest Clos Apaltas of all time.