Don Melchor 2015: the latest vintage of the Upper Maipo Valley’s great Cabernet Sauvignon
A new vintage of Don Melchor has just been launched. The 2015 harvest marks the iconic Upper Maipo Valley cabernet sauvignon’s 29th vintage, which winemaker Enrique Tirado describes as one of the best to date.
The vineyard’s remarkable qualities have combined to create one of the best vintages of Don Melchor since the wine’s beginnings in 1987. Its lead enologist, Enrique Tirado, explained that “the synergy of the soil, climate, and vineyard was unprecedented.” The total rainfall was less than in a normal year (277 mm), mostly concentrated during the winter and through the month of September. This encouraged the accumulation of water in the soils and ensured proper growth of the shoots during the early stages of the cycle. Given the good temperatures and dry weather in November, flowering and fruit set was uniform and later encouraged the bunches to ripen properly and evenly, which is essential for producing a unique vintage.
The slightly warm (21ºC) and dry early summer (January) generated the perfect conditions for creating just enough water stress for a veraison full of colors and tremendous concentration of tannins. Ripening took place gradually and fully throughout the season and without excessive heat. The month of February brought normal temperatures (19.8ºC), which helped concentrate the phenolic compounds necessary to produce a great wine. March was cooler than normal (17ºC), which helped ripening continue slowly, concentrating the body, flavor, and aromas in the grapes. April was slightly warmer than usual (14.7ºC), although always cool due to the influence of the immense Andes Mountains, which allowed the grapes to ripen slowly throughout the month and reach their optimal point for harvest in early May.
These excellent conditions throughout the entire season resulted in very profound expression in this Don Melchor—a blend of very intense aromas and flavors with a diversity of layers of very unique expressions. Every block of the vineyard exuded a particular strength of character and contributed even greater complexity to the finished wine.
The aromas of red fruits delicately mingle with mineral notes, such as cold ashes and pencil lead. Fine, delicate textures appear on the palate of this ample and generous wine.
“When we made the blend in July 2015, we clearly saw the perfect combination of the different parcels of Don Melchor that gave life to a wine that shows the best expression of the vineyard, where layer upon layer reveals its extraordinary beauty”, says Tirado.
The 2015 vintage, a blend of 92% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Cabernet Franc, and 1 % Petit Verdot, is now being released following 15 months of aging in French oak barrels.
“Exceptional in quality; the natural world has revealed its perfect balance. The 2015 vintage is one of the most perfect expressions of the spirit of Don Melchor that I can remember from my entire career working with this magnificent wine. Don Melchor 2015 is, without a doubt, one of the best vintages of my lifetime.”