On a beautiful Thursday morning I lolly-gagged about the house till 10am … the tasting was at the Royal York at 10:30 and I figured I’d miss the morning rush hour traffic then make my way downtown. I took my invitation off my bulletin board to check the room number and … jumpin’, it started at 10, so much for my memory and copying skills – now it was all up to my driving skills. But this is Toronto and although they say we are a fast paced city the traffic moves really really slow. By the time I arrived it was 10:45 and the formal presentation was over, all that was left to do was taste, and the Q & A. I was tempted to raise my hand and ask, “What did I miss?” but somehow the wiser side of me took hold and I listened to the questions being asked, I had no doubt that somebody would ask questions that had already been covered in the formal presentation – it always happens no matter where you are.
Don Melchor represents the top tier of Concha Y Toro wines and is named after its founder … it is a blend of the best Cabernet Sauvignon grapes grown in their Puente Alto Vineyard – and on rare occasions some Cabernet Franc is added to the blend, but never more than 10%. Don Melchor wines need a minimum of 4-5 years of cellaring to really come into their own, before that they are just too young, but show great potential. Between 12,000 and 15,000 cases are made every year, it is exported to 91 countries of which the U.S. is the top market for this wine. To put those numbers into perspective, Concha Y Toro produces between 20-21 million cases per year, is the number one volume producer in Chile and number 9 in the world … they own 7000 hectares of vineyards.
The Tasting …
Four wines were poured – all Don Melchor – from the 1997, 2000, 2004 and 2005 Vintage – proving the ageability of this wine, and how they compare in a variety of vintage conditions.
1997 … From a hotter year – a nose that was woodsy and smoky with chocolate nuances; flavours were reminiscent of bacon grease, blackberries, cassis and woodsiness.
2000 … From a cooler year – dried fruit, slightly vegetal and forest floor smells; but juicy blackberries with hints of tannin and quite elegant.
2004 … Normal year – fruity nose loaded with blackberries and raspberries lead to juicy black fruit flavours and elegant tannins – smooth with a bit of a bite.
2005 … “Great year in Chile” – full-on red berries with eucalyptus/mint on the nose, the flavours follow from the nose, mostly red berries and chocolate with big lush tannins – beautiful, elegant and great ageing potential. (Personal Favourite)