Friday, July 31, 2015

Report from ... Looking Back at Don Melchor - April 29, 2015

A lot can be said about Concha y Toro ... they were first established in 1883 and the first winery to become public in 1933.  They were the first on the New York Stock Exchange (1994), bought Trivento in Argentina in 1996, partnered with Baron Philippe de Rothschild in 1997 to form Almaviva.  They acquired Fetzer / Bonterra (in California) in 2011 and they partnered up with Manchester United in 2010 ...

Their wines are in 147 markets, 70% of their production gets exported; they have 30% of their domestic market and make up 35% of Chilean exports.  They have 10,750 acres planted, which is second largest and between the years 2011-2013 Drink International named them the #1 most admired wine brand in the world.

Chile is the perfect place to grow grapes and is one of only 2 countries free of phylloxera ... So why is Chile so perfect? Because of 4 natural barriers: the desert in the north, the Pacific to the west, Antarctic to the south and the Andes Mountains in the east. 

So what brings them to Toronto on this fine April day? The anniversary of their iconic Don Melchor wine, the wine named after their founder that was started in 1987. This single vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon is known as the "King of the Company" - taken from a 127 hectare planting whose range ages between very young to 100 years old in the Puente Alto Vineyard which represents the best Cabernet Sauvignon in their vineyard.  Within this vineyard are 7 parcels, 6 are Cabernet Sauvignon and one (which came as quite a surprise), is Cabernet Franc ... in 1998 they discovered there was a little Cab Franc in the blend.

Today we got a chance to taste five wines from Don Melchor ... wines range in age from 1991 to the current as 2010 - hence a look back at Don Melchor.  And the results are:

2010 Don Melchor
15 months in French oak: 76% new
Blend: 97% Cabernet Sauvignon / 3% Cabernet Franc
Nose: deep dark, black cherry and cassis
Taste: savoury with spicy-pencil shavings and rich dark fruit
(**** 1/2+)
1996 Don Melchor
12 months in French oak
100% Cabernet Sauvignon
Nose: earthy, sandlewood even a tad vegetal with leathery-gamey notes
Taste: hints of white pepper, sandlewood, and dried currants
Quite lovely but showing its age.
1995 Don Melchor
12 months in French oak: 65% new
Blend: 97% Cabernet Sauvignon / 3% Cabernet Franc
Shows more youth than the '96: better acidity, better spice
more fruit - lively and delightful
This is a fabulous 20 year old wine showing surprising youthfulness
1993 Don Melchor
12 months in French oak: 65% new
100% Cabernet Sauvignon
Nose is earthy and mushroomy with hints of coffee, but the palate
shows an elegant smoothness and hint of red fruit with earthy
character returning on the finish.

1991 Don Melchor
12 months in French oak
100% Cabernet Sauvignon
Shows licorice, leather and game meat - old but definitely still
drinkable ... on the plus side it does have nice soft tannins.
Lunch at Cafe Boulud ...

Alas, I don't think the lunch went very well - it just didn't go with the wines - the food was good but the meal was not a good pairing ... many around the table said they were "interesting" matches ... but let's be honest they were just being nice.

Tasting of Charcuterie
Artichoke Salad
Spring Lamb
Tasting of Cheese

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