It’s time for another of those wine days. This time Cabernet gets its day, not that Cabernet really needs to be brought to the attention of most wine enthusiasts, but we are happy to join the celebration because we enjoy a good Cabernet. And we have a very special Cabernet Sauvignon, which we received as a tasting sample, to share with you today: Don Melchor Cabernet Sauvignon.
Don Melchor is always a welcome guest in our house. This is the third vintage we have had the good fortune to taste. I remember that first taste of the 2011 vintage: elegance, structure, finesse. Same with the 2013 vintage, and while the flavors were similar they are also different (exactly what I expect from a quality wine.) Now, with the 2014 vintage, Don Melchor Cabernet Sauvignon again shows itself to be elegant and complex.
2014 Don Melchor Cabernet Sauvignon, Puente Alto — dense ruby-garnet in the glass with generous dark plum aromas, dusty earth and smoke. Flavors lead with cedar, leather, cigar box and tart red fruit flavors. Crushed flower stems and dried alfalfa flavors linger in the background. Tannins are drying and well-integrated with flavors. The finish is long with fruit, cedar and tannins. 14.5% abv. SRP $125.
The 2014 Don Melchor is substantial but elegant. It has plenty of flavor and texture. The flavors clearly identify it as a Cabernet Sauvignon, but not one from a hot climate. The combination of dried alfalfa and bright red fruit speak of a more moderate climate. The flavors of leather and cigar box speak of time in the bottle. This combination of fruit flavors along with leather, cedar and tobacco are flavors I first learned to love in aged red wines from Bordeaux.
When Don Melchor Concha y Toro founded Viña Concha y Toro in 1883 he looked to France for vine cuttings to plant his vineyards and to the French enologist Professor Émile Peynaud for winemaking advice. When Melchor planted Puente Alto vineyard in 1890 it was with vines from France. The Puente Alto vineyard is the source of grapes for Don Melchor Cabernet Sauvignon.
The vineyard’s elevation at over 2100 feet above sea level on the north bank of Chile’s Maipo River is situated to take advantage of a gap in the Andes Mountains that allows cool air to keep temperatures lower than other parts of Alto Maipo. The nighttime temperatures cool significantly in summer.
The Puente Alto vineyard sits on an alluvial terrace in well-drained, loamy soils. The 217 acres dedicated to Don Melchor Cabernet Sauvignon is planted to 90% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7.1% Cabernet Franc, 1.9% Malbec and 1% Petit Verdot (with an average age of 30 years) giving winemaker Enrique Tirado essentially a spice cabinet of blending varieties to use in making Don Melchor Cabernet Sauvignon.
Tirado selects fruit from 50 or more parcels out of the 142 defined within the vineyard for Don Melchor. In addition to lots of free-run juice, lots of pressed wine are vinified separately. Can you imagine keeping track of all of these lots of aging wine?
Every year the blend used to make Don Melchor Cabernet Sauvignon varies. The 2014 vintage is a blend of 92% Cabernet Sauvignon and 8% Cabernet Franc. Aging always takes place in French oak barrels. For the 2014 vintage aging took place for 15 months in 65% new and 35% second-use French oak.
Bottling took place in October 2015. This delicious Cabernet Sauvignon has spent nearly three years in bottle and the winemaker expects an aging potential of 25 to 30 years.
We have been curious since the first time we tasted Don Melchor Cabernet Sauvignon to follow its evolution over a longer period of time. For that reason we did not pull that cork on the 2014 Don Melchor this year. Instead we used our Coravin™ to sample a glassful so that we can revisit this wine again and again. I can hardly wait for that next taste!
Thank you to the ladies at Creative Palate Communications for a taste of this very special Cabernet Sauvignon. The fact that this Cabernet Sauvignon is blended with only Cabernet Franc makes it even more perfect for our Cabernet Day celebration.