For nearly three decades, Chile’s most iconic wine has called the Puente Alto terroir, 650 metres above sea level in the Alto Maipo Valley, home. The exceptional conditions for growing Cabernet Sauvignon at the foot of the Andes Mountains has been integral in shaping Don Melchor’s character and distinctive style. Today, Don Melchor, the benchmark of Chilean fine wine, celebrates 29 years of excellence with the release of the 2015 Vintage.
Arguably one of the finest vintages in the Don Melchor line, the 2015 showcases unprecedented synergy between the soil, climate, and vineyard. Clement temperatures and well timed rainfall enabled good balance in the vines and particularly even ripening in the bunches. Each of the seven parcels in the vineyard strongly expressed the flavours, aromas, and personality of the fantastic Puente Alto terroir to deliver greater complexity and expression in the final wines. The 2015 Vintage consists of 92% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Cabernet Franc, and, for the first time in the history of Don Melchor, 1% Petit Verdot.
Winemaker Isabel Mitarakis Guilisasti hosted an intimate lunch in Singapore to not only celebrate the 2015 Vintage, but also to commemorate both the 2012 and 2014 Vintages. As a member of the founding Guilisasti Family, Isabel is integral in realising her grandfather’s vision. For the past six years, Isabel has worked closely alongside head winemaker Enrique Tirado first with the bottling of the 2012, and then the entire winemaking process for the 2013, 2014 and the 2015 Vintages.
Taking place at Luka in Tanjong Pagar, Head Chef Takashi Okuno thoughtfully conceptualised a menu to perfectly pair with each vintage of Don Melchor. The menu delivered bold Italian-inspired dishes while celebrating Japanese produce, with dishes such as the Smoked Scallop with sun-dried tomato, deep-fried maitake mushroom, basil chips and fresh oregano, Bruschetta with Caravaggio cheese, taggiasche black olive tapenade and Beef Sandwich with white bread, kagoshima beef cutlet, caramelised onions, shaved summer truffle, home-made chips and marsala wine sauce.
The Don Melchor Story
In 1984 Eduardo Guilisasti urged his son Rafael and the house winemaker Goetz von Gersdorff to visit Bordeaux, France, to meet with French master Emile Peynaud and introduce him to the Cabernet Sauvignons from the Puente Alto terroir. Peynaud recognised the excellence of their wines and suggested that the well-known Bordeaux consultant Jacques Boissenot lead the project, which took the name of the winery’s founder, Don Melchor. The first vintage of this wine was 1987.
Jacques Boissenot was involved in the blending process of every vintage from its beginnings until the 2013 vintage. His son, Eric Boissenot, has carried on his father’s legacy, working with winemaker Enrique Tirado to make the final blend. Tirado has been in charge of Don Melchor since 1997 due to his extraordinary oenological sensitivity and his tireless efforts and rigor in seeking out and studying the Puente Alto terroir.
A decade after its inaugural vintage, in 1997 Viña Concha y Toro formed a strategic alliance with the prestigious French company Baron Philippe de Rothschild, maker of the legendary Château Mouton Rothschild, one of Bordeaux’s five Premier Grand Cru Classé wines. The extraordinary quality obtained in the Puente Alto terroir, enticed them to embark upon a new project to produce a first-order wine that would unite the experience and knowledge of the Old World with the development of new terroirs in the New World. The fruit of this union was Almaviva, a blend of Bordeaux varieties from the same terroir that produces Don Melchor.
With the release of its 2015 vintage, Don Melchor celebrates its 29th anniversary and continues to be Chile’s great icon Cabernet Sauvignon from the famous Puente Alto terroir.