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Don Melchor Cabernet Sauvignon (torn labels) 2005
#12 Wine Spectator Top 100 of 2008
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,
"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
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
The 2005 Don Melchor was cropped from an almost perfect year, when the grapes were picked between April 11 and May 19 in a slightly warmer year that provided powerful wines. The bottled wine was Cabernet Sauvignon with some 3% Cabernet Franc and had been matured in French oak barrels for 15 months, with 70% new barrels and the rest second use. Somehow this vintage had never been rated before, and I'm glad I did because it's a very good year, with average rain and not so high temperature, with a combination of power and finesse, notes of ash, earth, red and black fruit and a powerful palate. You see more the hand of a good winemaker here; there is very good balance, quality of tannins and freshness. This has balance, finesse and energy. It's evolving at a very slow pace, and it should continue aging forever in bottle.
The adventure had already begun two years earlier, when Mr. Eduardo Guilisasti insisted that his son Rafael and winemaker Goetz Von Gersdorff travel to Bordeaux, France to meet with the renowned French maestro Emilie Peynaud, considered the father of modern winemaking. They showed him the Cabernet Sauvignon from the Puente Alto Vineyard.
For Concha y Toro a wine begins with the vines. Don Melchor is the faithful expression of a Cabernet Sauvignon from a specific terroir in the Puente Alto Vineyard, which is divided into blocks that are homogenous in vigor. Each block is managed according to its specific needs for balanced growth in every vine.
The first vintage of Don Melchor was 1987, and from the beginning, French winemaker Jacques Boissenot, one of Bordeaux’s most respected consultants, has participated in defining and making the final blend of each Don Melchor since the very first vintage. Today his son, Eric Boissenot, continues his legacy as Don Melchor winemaker Enrique Tirado’s consultant.
Home to perhaps the world’s most easily recognizable Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough has a unique terroir that lends a unifying thread to all of its wines. But despite common misconceptions, the wines from this region at the northern tip of New Zealand’s South Island are anything but homogenous. With well-draining stony soils and a dry, sunny climate, the vineyards of Marlborough benefit from wide temperature fluctuations between day and night, which helps to preserve natural acidity in their fruit.
The region’s specialty, Sauvignon Blanc, is beloved for its pungent, aromatic character with notes of exotic tropical fruit, freshly cut grass, and green bell pepper along with a refreshing streak of stony minerality. These wines are made in a wide range of styles, and winemakers take advantage of various clones and vineyards sites as well as fermentation, lees-stirring, and aging regimens to differentiate their bottlings from one another. Also produced successfully here are fruit-forward Pinot Noirs, elegant Riesling, Pinot Gris, and Gewürztraminer, and a wide range of Chardonnay styles, as well as more experimental varieties like Grüner Veltliner and Syrah.
A crisp, refreshing variety that equally reflects both terroir and varietal character, Sauvignon Blanc is responsible for a vast array of wine styles. A couple of commonalities always exist, however—namely, zesty acidity and intense aromatics. The variety is of French provenance, and is important in Bordeaux and the Loire Valley. It also shines in New Zealand and California, while Chile and South Africa are excellent sources of high-quality, value-priced Sauvignon Blanc. High-quality Sauvignon Blanc is also produced in Washington State, Australia, and parts of northern Italy.
In the Glass
From its homeland in the Loire Valley, where citrus, flinty, and smoky flavors shine through in Sancerre and Pouilly-Fume, to Marlborough, New Zealand, where it is pungent, racy, and “green” (think grass, leaves, gooseberries, and bell peppers) and tastes of grapefruit and passionfruit, Sauvignon Blanc has something to offer every wine drinker. In Bordeaux, it is typically blended with Sémillon and Muscadelle to produce a softer, richer style. In California, any of the aforementioned styles can be emulated.
The freshness of Sauvignon Blanc’s flavor—from bell pepper and cut grass to passionfruit, gooseberry, and ripe kiwi lend it to a range of light, summery dishes including salad, seafood, and mild Asian dishes. Sauvignon Blanc settles in comfortably at the table with notoriously difficult foods like goat cheese and asparagus. When combined with Sémillon (and perhaps some oak), it can be paired with more complex seafood and chicken dishes.
Along with Cabernet Franc, Sauvignon Blanc is the proud parent of Cabernet Sauvignon. That green bell pepper aroma that all three varieties share is no coincidence—it comes from a high concentration of pyrazines (an herbaceous aromatic compound) inherent to each member of the family.