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2014 Don Melchor Cabernet Sauvignon – Continued Excellence from Chile and Concha y Toro

Don Melchor vineyardThere are many iconic wines in the world.  If you happen to be a wine aficionado, or really just someone interested in wine, you can probably rattle off five or ten.  Chateau Latour, Chateau Margaux, DRC (Domaine Romanee-Conti) from Burgundy, Chateau Rayas, Unico from Vega Sicilia, Penfolds Grange, Screaming Eagle, Gaja, Masseto, etc., etc.  Every great winemaking region of the world has some recognizable names, which translate into quality, reputation and, or course, price.  Here we will look at a wine which qualifies to be on this list, and was the first internationally recognized, super premium, wine from its region.  That region is Chile, and the wine is Don Melchor Cabernet Sauvignon from Concha y Toro.

They’ve been making wine in Chile for a very long time, much of it from French cuttings of classic varietals.  The Concha y Toro story started in the late 1800’s, as Don Melchor Concha y Toro introduced French root stock to Chile.  He established the Puenta Alto vineyard in 1890 with cuttings imported from France.  This is Cabernet country, and Puenta Alto is a separate D.O. located in the Maipo Valley sub-region.  The Don Melchor vineyard occupies 314 acres, sits at 2,145 feet above sea level, and is divided into 7 blocks (6 Cabernet Sauvignon and 1 Cabernet France).  Those 7 blocks are further subdivided into 142 individual parcels.

For Don Melchor, winemaker Enrique Tirado chooses between 50 – 60 parcels to ferment.  Then fermentation takes place in small lots, and the wine can be a combination of any number of lots from the free run juice or the pressed.  The wine is aged in 100% French oak, generally a greater proportion of new barrels, although that ratio changes as well.  This is very much a work of art and is unique to each growing season.

The results speak for themselves.  Since its initial vintage in 1987 the wine has garnered international recognition, praise from high profile wine critics and awards galore.  Its second vintage, 1988, cracked the Wine Spectator Top 100 in 1992, the first Chilean wine to do so.  Three times the wine has made the Top 10, the latest being in 2014 with the 2010 vintage.  This juice has pedigree.

We have a bottle of the 2014 Don Melchor Cabernet Sauvignon, and this latest vintage placed at #90 on Wine Spectators recently released list of the Top 100 of 2017.

don melchor logo

2014 Don Melchor Cabernet Sauvignon – this is 92% Cabernet Sauvignon with the remaining 8% coming from Cabernet Franc.  All fruit is from the Puente Alto vineyards, high in the Maipo Valley.  The wine was aged for 15 months in French oak, of which 65% of the barrels were new.  Spectator gave it 96, Suckling gave it 98, Parker gave it 94.   Our impressions:

The wine is dark red, and a really rich red at that.  Just a tiny touch of purple creeps in.  On the nose it brings dark fruit and the oakdon melchor is noticeable.  There are dark berries, with currant and blackberry.  On the palate it is full bodied, and the oak is nicely done, with a toasty quality.  It doesn’t overpower though, and the dark fruits, hint of orange peel and whisp of smoke add to a complex flavor profile.  This has brisk tannins right now and will last a long time.  At 14.5% alcohol it is well balanced.   Superior wine here, and a good example of why this label commands the respect it does.  It is world class.  SRP $125.  

If you’re looking for a bottle to impress, or for a special occasion, then this might be it.

A votre santé!

 

1 comment to 2014 Don Melchor Cabernet Sauvignon – Continued Excellence from Chile and Concha y Toro

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