Discover Don Melchor, Chile’s most iconic cabernet sauvignon
The Jakarta Post
Don Melchor has been described as ‘the founding father of Chilean fine wines.’ It has always strived not only to produce the finest red Chile could yield, but also to create a wine of world class stature, comparable to the finest wines from both the new and old worlds.
Don Melchor gives faithfull expression to the cabernet sauvignon variety from one of the best terroirs (environmental factors that determine the quality of the grapes); the Puente Alto vineyard. The people at Don Melchor have spent years identifying the differences in the expression of the vineyard and the wines, enabling the establishment of six blocks of cabernet sauvignon and one of cabernet franc.
Enrique Tirado, Don Melchor’s winemaker since 1997, manages the vines row by row to observe the needs of each plant in order to achieve the perfect balance with respect to the year’s weather conditions, enabling each block to transmit specific qualities to the final Don Melchor blend.
Don Melchor’s endeavor to create high quality handmade wine has seen it make seven appearances on US-based magazine Wine Spectator’s Top 100 Wines of the Year list since 1988. Three times, the Don Melchor name has appeared among the list’s top 10. The brand’s 2001 and 2003 vintages took fourth place in 2005 and 2006, respectively, while the 2010 vintage placed ninth last year.
It is widely known that the soil characteristics of a vineyard determine the quality of the wine, which is where the term terroir comes from. Don Melchor’s vineyard is located at the foot of the majestic Andes Mountains, which provide superb conditions for red wine grapes and shape the character and distinctive style of Chile’s finest cabernet sauvignon.
The vineyard itself is located atop stony soil comprising of materials carried down from the Andes by the Maipo River, the secret behind Don Melchor’s flavor. Its climate does the trick as well; refreshing mountain air channeled down the Maipo canyon cools the vineyard more than anywhere else in the Maipo valley. The sharp and diurnal temperature differences assist tannin ripening and the development of aromas and help produce exceptionally high quantities of polyphenol compounds in the grapes.
The vineyard spans 127 hectares of land, 90 percent of which is made up of cabernet sauvignon, 7.1 percent of cabernet franc, 1.9 percent of merlot and 1 percent petit verdot. Located on the northern bank of the Maipo River, the vineyard is located 650 meters above sea level. It lies within the Puente Alto denomination of origin.
The vineyard itself was established in 1890 and has been renovated many times over the years. On average, the age of the current vines reach more than 30 years, corresponding to an original selection of plants, which descended from the first vines brought from Bordeaux in the late 19th century. Don Melchor is a hearty assemblage of cabernet sauvignon originating from its distinct, yet contiguous sub-divided blocks. In some years, small amounts of cabernet franc are also included in the blend.
The face behind the wine
The flavor and aromatic qualities of Don Melchor wine are closely tied to its maker, Enrique Tirado, who began his career in 1995 and was put in charge of the company’s premium brands. In 1997 he was named managing winemaker, assuming responsibility for the super and ultra-premium ranges around with the company’s iconic wine, Don Melchor.
“For me, Don Melchor is an ongoing quest to find the truest possible expression from every plant in the vineyard and 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,” Tirado says.
Limited top 100 edition
To celebrate Don Melchor’s exceptional achievements on the influential Wine Spectator’s top 100 list, it has recently launched a collection of six vintages that reached outstanding positions on the list. Now, Don Melchor wine, including these limited editions, is available through VIN+ outlets in Indonesia.
Since it first opened its doors to Jakartans in Kemang, South Jakarta, in 2004, the wine store has expanded all over Jakarta and has also made its way to Bali. In Jakarta, it has a retail shop at Central Park Mall as well as wine boutiques in Senayan Arcadia and Street Galery in the Pondok Indah Mall shopping center. In Bali, VIN+ is located in Seminyak.
The Don Melchor selection includes the 1993, 2000, 2001, 2003, 2005 and 2010 vintages and is an invitation to discover the reasons why it is considered among the best wines in the world – a milestone for Chilean wine.
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