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Don Melchor Cabernet Sauvignon 1996

Cabernet Sauvignon from Chile
  • WS90
0% ABV
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  • WS96
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  • W&S91
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  • W&S92
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  • WS90
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Winemaker Notes

This wine boasts a deep ruby red color with a bouquet of mature plums, chocolate and tobacco accompanied by notes of menthol and vanilla. The taste is fine, elegant and full-bodied, with mature tannins that make the wine complete and pleasant. Enjoy with red meats and premium cheeses.

Critical Acclaim

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WS 90
Wine Spectator
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Don Melchor

Don Melchor

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Don Melchor, Chile
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The story of the Don Melchor wine begins in the mid-1980s when the Chilean wine industry was undergoing another transformation and beginning to create very high quality wines. A dream began to take shape at Viña Concha y Toro that would eventually change the future of Chilean wines forever and Peynaud immediately recognized the excellence of the wines from that terroir and suggested that his closest colleague, Jacques Boissenot, consultant for renowned French châteaux, lead the project.

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.

One of South America’s most important wine-producing countries, Chile is a reliable source of both budget-friendly wines and premium bottlings. Spanish settlers, Juan Jufre and Diego Garcia de Cáceres, most likely brought Vitis vinifera (Europe’s wine producing vine species) to the Central Valley of Chile some time in the 1550s. But Chile’s modern wine industry is largely the result of heavy investment from the 1990s.

Long and narrow, Chile is geographically isolated, bordered by the Pacific Ocean to the west, the Andes Mountains to the east and the Atacama desert to the north. These natural borders allowed Chile to avoid the disastrous phylloxera infestation in the late 1800s and as a result, vines are often planted on their own rootstock rather than grafted (as is the case in much of the wine producing world).

Chile’s vineyards vary widely in climate and soil type from north to south. The Coquimbo region in the far north contains the Elqui and Limari Valleys, where minimal rainfall and intense sunlight are offset by chilly breezes from the Humboldt Current. While historically focused solely on Pisco production, today this area finds success with Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. The Aconcagua region contains the eponymous Aconcagua Valley—hot and dry and home to full-bodied red wines made from Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Merlot—as well as Casablanca Valley and San Antonio Valley, which focus on Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. The Central Valley is home to the Maipo, Rapel, Curicó and Maule Valleys, which produce a wide variety of red and white wines. Maipo in particular is known for Carmenère, Chile’s unofficial signature grape. In the up-and-coming southern regions of Bio Bio and Itata make excellent Riesling, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.

Cabernet Sauvignon

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A noble variety bestowed with both power and concentration, Cabernet Sauvignon is now the world's most planted grape variety. Inherently high in tannins and acidity, the best bottlings of Cabernet can age beautifully, with the ability to last fifty years or more. Cabernet Sauvignon flourishes in temperate climates like Bordeaux's Medoc region and forms the base of the Medoc reds, which are typically mostly Cabernet with Merlot and smaller amounts of some combination of Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot. (Enjoying a great deal of success in various regions around the world, this blend is now globally referred to as a Bordeaux Blend.) Cabernet Sauvignon has enjoyed great success throughout the world, particularly in the Napa Valley, and is responsible for some of the world’s most prestigious and sought-after “cult” wines.

In the Glass

High in color, tannin and extract, Cabernet Sauvignon expresses notes of blackberry, cassis, plum, currant, spice and tobacco. In Bordeaux and elsewhere in the Old World you'll find the more earthy, tannic side of Cabernet, where it is typically blended to soften tannins and add complexity. In warmer regions like California Washington, Argentina, Chile and Australia, you can typically expect more ripe fruit flavors upfront.

Perfect Pairings

Cabernet Sauvignon is right at home with rich, intense meat dishes—beef, lamb and venison, in particular—where its opulent fruit and decisive tannins make an equal match to the dense protein of the meat. With a mature Cabernet, opt for tender, slow-cooked meat dishes.

Sommelier Secrets

Despite the modern importance and ubiquity of Cabernet Sauvignon, it is actually a relatively young variety. In 1997, DNA profiling revealed the grape to be a spontaneous crossing of Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc which took place in 17th century southwestern France.

SWC02812_1996 Item# 5795