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Don Melchor Cabernet Sauvignon Puente Alto Vineyard 2018

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IT'S ALL IN THE DETAILS

James Suckling 100 points
This is amazing. The vibrancy and energy in this wine is stunning. The complexity of aromas are breathtaking with flowers, blackcurrants, raspberries and peaches. Full-bodied, yet ever so refined and polished with impeccable texture and beauty. The length is marvelous. This is a testimony to balance, harmony and transparency in a great red. Drink after 2023.

Tim Atkin 98 Points
2018 is rightly regarded as one of the best Chilean red wine vintages of the last 30 years, so it's no surprise that the latest release of Don Melchor is so special. Made from 181 lots covering 151 different vineyard parcels, it's a pure, refined expression of the Andes-cooled Puente Alto terroir. This is only the second time that the blend has included all four Bordeaux varieties on the estate - it's 91% Cabernet Sauvignon, with 5% Cabernet Franc, 3% Merlot and 1% Petit Verdot - and the wine is suitably nuanced and well balanced. Scented and floral, with some wild herb top notes, it's an icon that marries energy with power and grip. The tannins are polished, the fruit intense, with cassis and red berry flavours complemented by fresh acidity and scented coffee bean oak. 2023-33

Wine & Spirits 96 Points

Long produced from its own 314-acre vineyard, a prime site on the third alluvial terrace above the north bank of the Maipo River, Don Melchor is now established in its own estate winery. Enrique Tirado, who started making Don Melchor in 1997, considers the 2018 season one of the most vine-friendly he has worked, with plenty of rain in winter, optimal weather during flowering, no heat spikes in summer and cool nights through harvest. The fruit of the vines shows the freshness of the season, as well as the ripeness, allowing Tirado and consultant Eric Boissenot to include both early ripening merlot and late-ripening petit verdot in this 2018 (in most years, they limit the blend to cabernets sauvignon and franc). The purity of that fruit is completely Andean—neither green nor dimpled, but precisely tuned in both the flavor and texture of its tannins. The wine has a quiet, gracious power, reflecting its Chilean character (there’s nothing either bold or austere about it; this is a wine of a place, without cabernet preconceptions). Its black currant and tart red cherry flavors have the crunch of walking through Andean snow, even as the sunniness of the fruit is cool, not at all cold, leaving a gracious impression. Great Andean cabernet has the capacity to age and develop for decades. If you’ve never invested in Chilean wine, this is the place to start.

Vinous 96 Points

The 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon Don Melchor is a combination of a proven style – the blend also includes 5% Cabernet Franc, 3% Merlot and 1% Petit Verdot – and a particularly good harvest in the Puente Alto region in Maipo. Made by Enrique Tirado and aged for 15 months in French barrels, it is garnet red in the glass, with a very complex expression that unfolds in layers, beginning with black currant and sour cherry notes, followed by mint, cedar and pepper and a faint whiff of red pepper. Juicy in the mouth with fine-grained tannins and a concentration that centers the wine, channeling and stretching out the fruity backdrop, this is an unusually harmonious and delicious Bordeaux blend.

Wine Spectator 95 Points
Powerful and well-structured, with vibrant acidity backing a lively blend of dark fruit and fresh-crushed cooking spice flavors. Cedary and savory notes in the midpalate, with a long finish filled with underbrush accents. Drink now through 2027.
James Suckling 100 points
This is amazing. The vibrancy and energy in this wine is stunning. The complexity of aromas are breathtaking with flowers, blackcurrants, raspberries and peaches. Full-bodied, yet ever so refined and polished with impeccable texture and beauty. The length is marvelous. This is a testimony to balance, harmony and transparency in a great red. Drink after 2023.

Tim Atkin 98 Points
2018 is rightly regarded as one of the best Chilean red wine vintages of the last 30 years, so it's no surprise that the latest release of Don Melchor is so special. Made from 181 lots covering 151 different vineyard parcels, it's a pure, refined expression of the Andes-cooled Puente Alto terroir. This is only the second time that the blend has included all four Bordeaux varieties on the estate - it's 91% Cabernet Sauvignon, with 5% Cabernet Franc, 3% Merlot and 1% Petit Verdot - and the wine is suitably nuanced and well balanced. Scented and floral, with some wild herb top notes, it's an icon that marries energy with power and grip. The tannins are polished, the fruit intense, with cassis and red berry flavours complemented by fresh acidity and scented coffee bean oak. 2023-33

Wine & Spirits 96 Points

Long produced from its own 314-acre vineyard, a prime site on the third alluvial terrace above the north bank of the Maipo River, Don Melchor is now established in its own estate winery. Enrique Tirado, who started making Don Melchor in 1997, considers the 2018 season one of the most vine-friendly he has worked, with plenty of rain in winter, optimal weather during flowering, no heat spikes in summer and cool nights through harvest. The fruit of the vines shows the freshness of the season, as well as the ripeness, allowing Tirado and consultant Eric Boissenot to include both early ripening merlot and late-ripening petit verdot in this 2018 (in most years, they limit the blend to cabernets sauvignon and franc). The purity of that fruit is completely Andean—neither green nor dimpled, but precisely tuned in both the flavor and texture of its tannins. The wine has a quiet, gracious power, reflecting its Chilean character (there’s nothing either bold or austere about it; this is a wine of a place, without cabernet preconceptions). Its black currant and tart red cherry flavors have the crunch of walking through Andean snow, even as the sunniness of the fruit is cool, not at all cold, leaving a gracious impression. Great Andean cabernet has the capacity to age and develop for decades. If you’ve never invested in Chilean wine, this is the place to start.

Vinous 96 Points

The 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon Don Melchor is a combination of a proven style – the blend also includes 5% Cabernet Franc, 3% Merlot and 1% Petit Verdot – and a particularly good harvest in the Puente Alto region in Maipo. Made by Enrique Tirado and aged for 15 months in French barrels, it is garnet red in the glass, with a very complex expression that unfolds in layers, beginning with black currant and sour cherry notes, followed by mint, cedar and pepper and a faint whiff of red pepper. Juicy in the mouth with fine-grained tannins and a concentration that centers the wine, channeling and stretching out the fruity backdrop, this is an unusually harmonious and delicious Bordeaux blend.

Wine Spectator 95 Points
Powerful and well-structured, with vibrant acidity backing a lively blend of dark fruit and fresh-crushed cooking spice flavors. Cedary and savory notes in the midpalate, with a long finish filled with underbrush accents. Drink now through 2027.

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