wineWhen you’re talking about high-quality Chilean wines, chances are you’re referring to the Concha y Toro vineyard abutting the Andes outside of Santiago. But when you’re talking about exceptional wines with no qualifications, well, then you’re talking Don Melchor.

The premiere label in the Concha y Toro stable, Don Melchor has, in its brief 26 years of production, turned out some of the finest cabernet sauvignons in the wine world, so rich and well-tended that they easily compete with gold-medal reds from Napa and Bordeaux.

During a recent visit to Dallas, winemaker Enrique Tirado, pictured, brought with him some of the best vintages in the Don Melchor cellar, including a rare bottle from 1989 (only its fourth vintage) and a 2009 (its last vintage released). Those, as well as a 1993 and 2006 in between, demonstrated excellence, food-friendliness and a surprising diversity. That’s because the plots at Don Melchor are subdivided by microclimate and terroir into a number of planting areas that impose their own unique qualities. If you’ve ever doubted whether such minor distinctions really matter, just try two bottles. Or better get, visit the winery when you go to Chile. Tirado will be happy to prove it to you — and you can stay for a glass.

— Arnold Wayne Jones

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition October 25, 2013.