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Don Melchor ~ A highly performing wine from Chile ~ Wine of the Week

When I look at its history, I see that Don Melchor is a high performance wine. Would I like to taste it? Indeed, bring it on.

I received the 2011 Don Melchor Cabernet Sauvignon, Puente Alto Vineyard for review. This wine is kicking off my 2016 wine blog project… Wine of the Week.

2011 Don Melchor Cabernet Sauvignon, Puente Alto Vineyard

So, how did it taste for me?

First of all, this is still a young wine. I’ve gotten way past caring about young wines anymore being hard to enjoy. A friend recently told me that she gifted someone a young wine and there was paperwork that went along with the wine. The person on the receiving end became concerned, and felt that the wine MUST be put away for another five years.

Those days are gone forever, with today’s gadgets. Just reach for an aerator, for a very quick solution. Then, there’s always decanting wines, for a bit slower process.

My first taste was undecanted… That’s when I learned how tight tannins still are, but the chalky smooth flavor of this wine still tricked through. My mouth was filled with flavors that were of ripe, black current goodness, a touch of licorice, and a final hint of lead pencil. (Yeah, I used to chew pencils, when I was too stupid to know better – first grade, maybe?) In its current age, this Cab is just begging for a blackberry cobbler with Crème Fraîche…. Most delicious

Now, decanted?

Bring out the prime rib… Soak up the juices that accompany this dish, because the black fruit has softened and will add to the culinary experience of going this high end. A very delicious wine that’s highly recommended and is a true keeper. Honored to have had the opportunity to learn about Don Melchor.

The Winemaker ~ Enrique Tirad

[Image borrowed from the Don Melchor website.]

Enrique Tirado joined the parent company Viña Concha y Toro in 1993. He was hired to lead its premium brand divisions. Four years later, Triado was appointed head winemaker, assuming the responsibilities for their super premium and ultra premium labels, in addition to its iconic wine, Don Melchor.

For me, Don Melchor is an ongoing quest to get the truest possible expression from every plant in the vineyard to attain beauty in the equilibrium from each Puente Alto terroir harvest.

It’s my true obsession. Though I use technology as a tool to improve my knowledge, perhaps more importantly it is by observing and sensing what is happening with each plant and each wine that gives me that perfect balance year after year.

More impressive credentials… In 1997, Viña Almaviva was created from a joint venture between French winery Baron Philippe de Rothschild and Viña Concha y Toro. For its first vintage in 1996, besides his work with Don Melchor, Enrique Tirado was named co-winemaker for Almaviva alongside Patrick León, Technical Director of Château Mouton Rothschild. Working together for seven years, the pair attracted considerable acclaim from international wine writers. Tirado was appointed a director of Viña Almaviva in 2004.

Enrique is said to have an uncanny winemaking sensitivity and tirelessly researches different terroirs. In 1999, this led to his designation as sole winemaker of Don Melchor, their renowned Puente Alto vineyard in the Andean foothills on the north bank of the Maipo River.

This snapshot of his career is a snapshot of what a great performer Don is and what’s led to creating wines for such critical acclaim.


2 Responses to “Don Melchor ~ A highly performing wine from Chile ~ Wine of the Week”

  1. Blake Gray says:

    I tried this wine for the first time this week and was very impressed.

    People taste differently. For you, it tasted like dessert, and that’s fine. I enjoyed its balance. I found it fruit-driven but not excessively so; it was elegant, and each sip invited another. I know it’s popular in many circles to enjoy a bomblet of blackberry but I like a more graceful wine than that, and this delivered. I also enjoyed a hint of Cabernet’s characteristic fresh herb note. It tasted like an honest, delicious Cab from well-grown fruit.

  2. Jo Diaz says:

    Eloquently stated, Blake. You’re got a wonderful palate.

    It wasn’t sweet, though, for me. This is why I would pair it with the opposite. So, I could enjoy it with dessert (or a hearty beef dish – for the fat content). I cook a lot of sweet and sour Pan Pacific type dishes, to get that balance of sweet and tart into a tasting experience.

    As I reach for balance in my foods, I’d be fine to have it with a blackberry cobbler. The chemistry of it would bring a bit of the sugar back into the wine grapes and give me a better sense of what they were like when still hanging on the vine.

    Thanks for weighing in.

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