Viña Don Melchor, Puente Alto (Maipo Valley, Chile) Cabernet Sauvignon 2020

($151):  Before Seña, Almaviva, Clos Apalta, or Viñedo Chadwick appeared on the scene, there was Don Melchor, standing head and shoulders above every other Chilean wine.  Formerly, Don Melchor was the flagship of the Concha y Toro winery.  Since 2019, it has become its own entity and winery within Concha y Toro, hence the subtle change in producer to Viña Don Melchor.  Make no mistake: It is still Concha y Toro’s flagship and one of Chile’s — and the world’s — best Cabernet-based wines.  Enrique Tirado, Don Melchor’s winemaker, explains that the wine is an expression of Cabernet Sauvignon, which explains why that grape always comprises at least 90 percent of the blend.  The 2020 Don Melchor leads with a subtle hint of mint and other aromatic herbal nuances.  It’s refreshingly restrained, not a fruit bomb, with suave tannins that magically provide plenty of structure.  As it sits in the glass, plum-like fruitiness intermingles with spice and savory notes.  It impresses with elegance and persistence, not power.
96 Michael Apstein Feb 28, 2023