Friday, April 5, 2013

A Drinker's Notebook No. 5: Nosing with Enrique Tirado

One of the treats in being a wine writer is that I get the opportunity to taste a wine with the person who made it. Recently I sat down at the Benjamin Steakhouse in New York with Concha y Toro's Enrique Tirado, who has been making their iconic Cabernet Sauvignon blend, Don Melchor, since 1997. In front of us were glasses of the 1995, 2001, 2005 and 2009 vintages. A shipment of the latter, Tirado said, was somewhere on the high seas and will be the "current vintage" when it arrives in the United States. After we sniffed, swirled, sipped and spat, we discussed the wines and why each tasted as delicious as it did. Although my favorite at the moment is the 2005, it was interesting to note the family resemblances of all four - delicious, concentrated, dark-berry flavors, big tannins that are nevertheless harmonious, lean finishes, some mint and some earth. And all remind me of why Chile is one of the world's best producers of both high-end and affordable Cabernets.

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