Don Melchor closes out a successful 2020 harvest
The 2019-2020 vine growing season turned into one of the most challenging wine harvests for the Don Melchor agricultural and winemaking team.
In addition to the particular climate conditions and rainfall characteristics, the appearance of the Covid-19 pandemic in Chile unleashed a strict operative at Viña Don Melchor to take all precautions recommended by the health authorities to protect its workers during the harvest and maintain operational continuity.
In terms of weather, the Puente Alto zone saw high temperatures, primarily in the months of November and December, in comparison to historical averages. Then, during the first half of the summer, that is, January and February, temperatures were similar to the last two seasons, although slightly higher than the historical average. With respect to precipitation, it was a very dry year with rainfall concentrated in the winter, and practically no rain during the rest of the season.
This climate situation in Puente Alto, and the Maipo Valley in general, pushed up the harvest approximately 15 to 20 days earlier than scheduled, and this was further enhanced by low yields, caused primarily by a smaller size of the grape, which accelerated their concentration. However, the bunches demonstrated high-quality maturity, highlighting their great balance and concentration.
“This situation of naturally faster maturity was detected in February, and at the beginning of March when we tasted the grapes. We were a bit unnerved by the early maturity, however, and just as we at Don Melchor have always decided, we chose to forget the dates and harvest the grapes at their ideal maturity according to a tasting and analysis obtained from the lab,” explains winemaker Enrique Tirado.
Therefore, the Don Melchor harvest was held between March 9th -starting with Merlot- and April 6th. The start date of this wine harvest was similar to recent years but ended practically one month earlier than normal.
“The best expression to summarize this harvest is ‘the nobleness of terroir.’ If in our one hundred years of history we needed a year with such an early maturity, it was the 2020 harvest. It could not have picked a better time with this weather phenomenon and the maturity of the vineyard,” explains Enrique, and adds, “the wines we obtained are excellent quality, with great concentration and maturity. There is balance and energy, with refined textures, full of different expressions of aromas and flavors that allowed us to create a great blend for Don Melchor 2020.”