Don Melchor was Chile’s first icon wine has consistently received the highest praise and recognition throughout its entire history since the beginning. This confirms it as one of the maximum representatives of Cabernet Sauvignon and the Puente Alto terroir as Chile’s finest origin for producing this variety.
Denomination of Origin (D.O.)
Puente Alto, Alto Maipo Valley.
The 127-hectare vineyard consists of 90% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7.1% Cabernet Franc, 1.9% Merlot, and 1% Petit Verdot. It is planted on the north bank of the Maipo River at an altitude of 650 meters above sea level. This zone lies at the foot of the Andes Mountains in the Maipo River Basin and corresponds to the Puente Alto Denomination of Origin.
The vineyard was planted in 1890 with a selection of pre-phylloxera vinestock brought from Bordeaux in the late 19th century. The vines growing in the vineyard today are a massal selection of those original vines and now average 30 years in age.
One of the most important characteristics of this site is that it is located on the Maipo River’s oldest alluvial terrace, whose soil contains abundant minerals, clay, gravel, and round stones due to the erosion caused by the glaciers as they advanced from the mountains toward the valley, dragging material that was later deposited on the terraces and lending a unique character to Don Melchor.
The Puente Alto soil has a 30-centimeter top layer of loam over a deep layer of very rocky soil. These soils ensure good drainage and low fertility, which limits the plants’ vegetative growth.
Another important factor of this extraordinary terroir is the cold influence of the Andes Mountains, which is responsible for the cool breezes in the valley and a broad differential between daytime and nighttime temperatures during the ripening period. These conditions encourage the tannins to ripen slowly and evenly and the grapes to produce more concentrated color and aromas, brighter acidity, and excellent fresh red fruit character.
The Puente Alto climate is semi-arid Mediterranean and receives an average of 35 centimeters of annual rainfall. It is in one of the coldest zones of the Alto Maipo Valley with an average annual temperature of 14.5ºC.