Don Melchor was hailed the best Cabernet Sauvignon from Chile by both the Wine Spectator and Robert Parker. Named after the founder of the winery, Don Melchor de Concha y Toro, the wine has become a symbol of the best the land and the winemaker's hand can produce in Chile.
The Puente Alto Vineyard in the Maipo Valley has the perfect combination of climate and soils for producing world-class wine: the climate is ideal and predictable, and the soil is poor and gravelly to reduce yields and increase concentration naturally. After fermentation, the wine is matured in the finest French oak barriques for 14 months, followed by another year in the bottle before release.
Ripe fleshy fruit and berries lead off this highly aromatic wine. Later, the tobacco and chocolate come through and marry with the vanilla. Agreeable, mature tannins elegantly convey the best expression of the Puente Alto vines. The pleasant, long finish displays great harmony and balance.
"Still very tight, but the tannins that lead the way now are sleek and refined and should easily meld into the huge core of roasted chestnut, black currant paste, warm fig and tar. Has a long, coffee- and loam-tinged finish. Best from 2009 through 2019." 96 Points, Wine Spectator
"Inky purple hue. Heady, perfumed scents of maple, cinnamon and blackberry. Juicy, velvety berry fruit explodes on the palate with continued sweet maple flavorings. Tart on a spicy close with focused red and black fruit and silky tannin impressions." 95 Points The Wine News
Vina Concha y Toro Winery
Founded in 1883, Viña Concha y Toro is Latin America’s leading producer and occupies an outstanding position among the world’s most important wine companies, currently exporting to 135 countries worldwide. Uniquely, it owns around 9,500 hectares of prime vineyards, which allows the company to secure the highest quality grapes for its wine production. Concha y Toro’s portfolio includes a wide range of successful brands at every price point, from the top of the range Don Melchor and Almaviva to the flagship brand Casillero del Diablo and innovative stand-alone brands such as Palo Alto and Maycas del Limarí. The company has 3,162 employees and is headquartered in Santiago, Chile.
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Photo of the sun break following morning fog over the vineyards of Veramonte Winery (located in the Casablanca Valley)
Long and thin, Chile has a lot of land north to south. The wine region here is a series of districts based near Santiago. The vineyards are protected by the Pacific on the west and the Andes mountains on the east. This could help explain why the climate changes more from east to west than north to south – also why the country has remained phylloxera free. Quite a few wineries in Chile were founded by large French wine companies. Seeing the potential of the country, vineyards were bought and planted by these French folks and the results tell of a smart investment. Some of these wineries include: Los Vascos, Casa Lapostolle and Cousino Macul.
And while the inspiration may have been French, but the wines here are quite Chilean.
The main regions of Chile include Maipo (pronounced MY-poh), known for reds like Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Carmenere; Casablanca Valley, a region producing delicious Sauvignon Blanc, as well as other whites & some
reds; Colchaugua, an inland district creating amazing red wines from Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon, particularly in the Apalta sub-region; and Rapel Valley, settled right under Maipo and producing the same red varietals. A couple of smaller regions to watch include Limari and Elqui, two valleys further north, producing some delicious cool-climate Chardonnay and Bio Bio, an area further south, which is also focused on cool-climate varieties. Chilean wines are growing in exports and more consumers are enjoying the delicious values coming from the country. Red wines of the region, though they cannot be generalized, make the whole gamut of wine quality – quaffable to collectible. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot & Carmenere are the main players, though Syrah is also making a splash. Some of the best reds are blends of the above varieties. As for whites, Sauvignon Blanc is typically crisp, herbal and racy, while Chardonnay is richer in style with full-bodied texture and tropical fruit flavors.
Young, organically farmed Carmenère at Chile's De Martino estate vineyard
Chile & Argentina are the regions producing the most wine coming out of the continent. The wines from this area are good value with a distinctive taste. They create new world wines with old world character.
While this is a nice cab, I, personally wouldn't have rated it in the 90's. I didn't find it as fruity as advertised and felt that the finish wasn't quite what I was looking for. It is nice, I would drink it again, if offered, but I have had better cab's...and don't think I would buy it again. I think, though, that this is a matter of taste, and this wine simply wasn't to my own taste.
This is really a world-class Cabernet, offering sumptuous aroma and flavors. If it had come from Napa Valley it would easily cost twice as much. I tried to place a second order just days later but it was already out of stock. If you can get it, snap it up.
Most wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Crisp
Light to medium bodied wines that are high in acid and light to medium fruit. Typically no oak.
Fruity & Smooth
Light to medium bodied wines with lots of juicy fruit, typically medium acid and medium oak.
Rich & Creamy
Full bodied wines that have typically undergone malo-lactic fermentation and/or spent time in oak.