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The master winemaker Enrique Tirado has once again captivated us with a new vintage of Don Melchor, the renowned flagship wine of Chile’s Concha y Toro. For 34 years, Concha y Toro has been creating wines of exceptional quality in the Puente Alto winery, and the 2020 vintage is a particularly outstanding blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, complemented by a hint of Cabernet Franc (6 percent), Merlot (1 percent), and Petit Verdot (1 percent).
Chile is one of the top producers of exceptional wines, with many vineyards and wineries located in narrow valleys overlooking the Pacific Ocean and sheltered by the Andes. The Don Melchor vineyards are situated in the Puente Alto DO, in the Alto Maipo Valley. The volcanic alluvial soils provide excellent drainage and low fertility, which helps regulate plant growth and enhances grape quality.
A masterful wine-growing region
Over the years, I have sampled many wines from top Chilean producers, and Don Melchor is always among the finest libations created in the country. This time, I am willing to go out on a limb and rate the 2020 Don Melchor sample I tried at 99/100. A near perfect score. Despite its youth, the vitality and complexity of this wine are truly stunning.
The harvest primarily takes place in April, a month with little to no rainfall, warm daytime temperatures, and cold nights that are ideal for a great vintage. The grapes are handpicked, with each vineyard plot harvested separately. The best berries are hand-selected, and each parcel is fermented separately in small stainless steel tanks.
The lots are kept distinct, and Enrique and Eric Boissenot, the French winemaker from Lamarque, Bordeaux, taste samples of the various lots and create the final blend, which is then aged for 15 months in French oak barriques (71 percent new, and 29 percent second use).
The wine’s complexity is awe-inspiring, with notes of black plums, blackcurrants, raspberries, and a surprising hint of white peach on the palate, complemented by soft and elegant tannins. Even the subtle oak notes are delightful, and I am confident that the wine’s superb balance will remain for years to come as it ages. This full-bodied and polished wine boasts an impeccable texture and beauty.
If you purchase this wine, I recommend cellaring it for at least five more years. Your patience will be handsomely rewarded when you uncork the bottle. Many thanks to Enrique and his entire team for this gift of a unique sensation and impeccable taste.
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