The 2021 vintage of Don Melchor comes from a season that was cooler during the ripening period and that had less precipitation than the historic values, although the rain that fell came at precise moments. These conditions enabled the production of wines with very good balance between fresh expression and energy on the one hand and the elegance characteristic of the Puente Alto terroir on the other.
The entire season registered lower precipitation than a normal year for the Puente Alto zone, with a total of 249.1 mm between June 2020 and April 2021. The rain was very well distributed throughout the most important times in the vineyard, concentrated in the winter and later during veraison, when the vines need more water in the soil. This promoted good plant growth and ensured tremendous final expression in the grapes.
Temperatures were slightly warmer between the end of winter and the month of December, which benefitted the plants by encouraging good initial shoot growth, which is important for their development later in the season.
The warmer spring conditions caused budbreak and flowering to occur a few days earlier than usual, although those climatic factors were very favorable for complete and homogenous fruit set.
After the warmer spring period, the temperatures remained below the historical average throughout the rest of the season and affected ripening. The average temperature between the months of January and April was 17.6°C, which is below the historical average of 18.0°C.
The cooler weather that began in January and coincided with veraison contributed to slowing the ripening process and concentrating the expression of the aromas and flavors reflected in the final wines while also contributing freshness, complexity, and elegance.
Vineyard yields were slightly higher than estimated and also higher than in the past two seasons, thereby improving the balance in the final expression of the grapes, which is also reflected in the wines.
The harvest began on March 16 with the Merlot, most of which was harvested during the second half of March. The Cabernet Sauvignon was harvested throughout nearly all of April and ended on May 7. The Cabernet Franc began in mid-April, and the Petit Verdot, in early May. Overall, the harvest was very much in line with the normal dates for Puente Alto.
The wines are very expressive, concentrated, dense, and long, with outstanding fruit and refined textures in all of the varieties in the Don Melchor Vineyard. The balance between elegance and energy is very good, and the expression of flavors and aromas is excellent.
The different parcels of Cabernet Sauvignon show outstanding quality and personality, which leads us to believe we will achieve a tremendous final blend for the 2021 Don Melchor.