99pts James Suckling
This is really focused and refined with fantastic dried flowers and dark berries. Dried-lavender and mint undertones. Medium-to full-bodied with refined and polished tannins that are all together and so focused. Really integrated and melted together on the palate. Compact and very linear. Please give this two or three years to come completely together, but it’s already breathtaking. Better to drink after 2022.
96pts Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
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 and 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.
94pts Wine Spectator
Refined, with savory richness to the mineral-infused raspberry, red currant and herbal shadings. Creamy hints emerge midpalate, leading to a crisp, well-structured finish that lingers with slate and cast iron notes. Carmenère, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Drink now through 2025.
A few mature wines still survive from the period that Michel Rolland spent in Chile, including Clos Apalta (a blend of 64% Carménère, 19% Cabernet Sauvignon and 17% Merlot), demonstrating both the effectiveness and richness of the style. Taking an approach that suits the terroir of Apalta in Colchagua, this garnet-hued red offers ripe aromas of jam, camphor and bay leaf that guide the hints of blackberry and an elegant woodiness that encompasses notes of sandalwood and tobacco. A complex wine that reflects its oxidative aging process; after a while, black olives, musk and hazelnuts appear. It is rich on the palate with fine tannins and slightly intense woody notes. A long, mature, open and flavorsome finish.
The Merlot offers up black fruit aromas such as black cherry and blackberry, all with wonderful freshness on the palate. The Cabernet Sauvignon, in particular from old pre-phylloxera vines, offers up aromas of red fruit (raspberry) and black fruit (blackcurrant, blueberry) with some ripe bell pepper and black olive notes. As it matures it develops pepper, crème de cassis, leather and charred notes (smoke, toast and chocolate). The Carmenère, brightly coloured with hints of purple, is rich with rounded tannins. There are delicate cherry aromas on the nose, subtly balanced out by spicy touches of black pepper. Freshness on the palate ensures a beautiful finish of black fruit, smoke, cocoa, leather and tobacco notes.
This wine's ideal companions are canard à l’orange, rack of lamb with rustic mashed potatoes or to finish a meal with a selection of a high percentage cacao chocolate.
Blend: 64% Carménère, 19% Cabernet Sauvignon, 17% Merlot