The current blend of 2020 Don Melchor will be determined through video-assemblage for the first time. The 30th Anniversary vintage, 2017 Don Melchor, of the celebrated Chilean wine, is currently available; and 2018 vintage will launch this fall
August 12, 2020 (Santiago, Chile) – More than thirty vintages after its first release, Don Melchor has accomplished an unparalleled record, showcasing Chile’s potential for crafting world-class Cabernet Sauvignon from Puente Alto Vineyard. The winery has just announced plans to release the next vintage – Don Melchor 2018 – in Fall 2020. Don Melchor 2018 will be one of the rare vintages to include four classic varieties: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot.
In the tradition of first growth Bordeaux, Don Melchor is known for its artful blending process, an annual collaboration between winemaker Enrique Tirado and expert blender Eric Boissenot designed to find the truest expression of Puente Alto.
“We call our approach the ‘Beauty of the Composition’ to capture the artistry that defines each vintage,” explains Tirado, winemaker and general manager of Viña Don Melchor. “When we start working on the blend, we have not one expression but hundreds of micro-vinifications to consider that collectively represent the distinct flavors, aromas, textures and color variations of our terroir. Creating the final assemblage of Don Melchor is like painting in many colors and tones to illustrate the beauty of this extraordinary vineyard.”
The Beauty of the Composition is a tradition that dates back over 30 years to the founding of Don Melchor and today is heralded as one of the great partnerships in the wine world. Tirado meets with Boissenot each summer in the small town of Lamarque in Haut-Médoc to review more than 150 parcels from Puente Alto to determine the final composition. The first consideration is what percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon to include from the vineyard’s many different parcels, followed by the relative percentages of Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Petit Verdot. Once the tasters agree on the blend, the wine ages in French oak barrels for up to 15 months, followed by additional bottle aging to develop complexity and elegance.
Owing to global travel constraints imposed by COVID-19, the 2020 blend of Don Melchor was determined by video-assemblage. Tirado and Boissenot will simultaneously review the tasting lots over multiple days in order to keep the blending and aging timeline of Don Melchor 2020 on schedule.
2017 Don Melchor
Currently available, Don Melchor 2017 marks the 30th Anniversary of the winery, characterized by a great harvest and a wine of extraordinary elegance and balance. The year was warmer than usual, with less precipitation than average, contributing to the final blend of 98% Cabernet Sauvignon and 2% Cabernet Franc. The wine aged for 15 months in French oak barrels (67% first use, 33% second use). Deep cherry red in color, Don Melchor 2017 is highly aromatic and with notes of black cherry and red fruit. On the palate there are strong notes of Cabernet Sauvignon from Puente Alto, with fine and delicate tannins, in addition to good density and a long-lasting finish. Don Melchor 2017 retails for a suggested $120 per 750-ml bottle.
2018 Don Melchor
Don Melchor 2018 is a rare release with four varieties from Puente Alto, namely: 91% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Cabernet Franc, 3% Merlot and 1% Petit Verdot. 2018 was a warmer vintage than average, but unlike 2017 a more even distribution of rainfall allowed for steady maturation of multiple varieties. More details about the anticipated Don Melchor 2018 will be available this September.
About Don Melchor
Don Melchor is a legacy wine from Chile, first created in 1987 by the Guilisasti family of Concha y Toro and named for their forefather in Chilean wine. A Cabernet Sauvignon of refinement and elegant character, Don Melchor represents a singular expression of the Puente Alto Vineyard in the upper Maipo Valley, overseen by winemaker Enrique Tirado since 1995. The 7 parcels of Don Melchor are harvested independently to support over 150 micro-vinifications in the cellar, each then tasted and selected for the final composition. Don Melchor was the first wine to showcase Chile’s profound potential for quality, with an unparalleled record as a collector’s Cabernet Sauvignon. The second vintage of Don Melchor (1988) was the first Chilean wine to be named to Wine Spectator’s Top 100 Wines of the World, where it has since placed nine times, including three placements in the Top 10. Currently in its 30th vintage release, Don Melchor is one of the world’s most awarded wines – and launched as an independent winery, Viña Don Melchor, in fall 2019.