Quality Chilean fine wines make their debut

Some of Siem Reap's hotel representatives and restaurateurs taking part in the wine tasting.
Some of Siem Reap's hotel representatives and restaurateurs taking part in the wine tasting. PHOTO SUPPLIED

Quality Chilean fine wines make their debut

Good news for oenophiles – Chile’s award-winning fine wine, Don Melchor Cabernet Sauvignon, has landed in Siem Reap.

Produced by Viña Concha Y Toro, Latin America’s largest winery, the vintages are available in some leading local hotels and restaurants following a launch at Park Hyatt.

The Hyatt wine tasting was part of Viña Concha Y Toro’s commemorative Don Melchor Three Decades Asia Tour to celebrate the winery’s130th anniversary. The tour took in various Asian cities including Seoul, Hong Kong and Ho Chi Minh City, where an exclusive collection of reds was debuted, with Siem Reap the final stop.

“It was quite interesting to showcase seven different vintages of Don Melchor, our top icon Cabernet Sauvignon,” says Mario Aguado, Viña Concha Y Toro’s export manager for Southeast Asia. “We had one vintage from the ‘80s, two from the ‘90s and four vintages from the 2000s.”

Don Melchor has won several awards including fourth place for its 2001 and 2003 vintages in US-based Wine Spectator magazine’s Top 100 Wines of the World list in 2005 and 2006, and is Chile’s top-scoring wine according to Aguado.

“I think there are two or three key points about what makes Don Melchor so special,” says Aguado. “One of them is that it was the first icon wine from Chile – the first vintage was 1987 so it was really the first ultra-premium wine launched into the market.

It’s been the most-awarded wine from Chile, and thirdly, what I believe makes Don Melchor the wine it is right now, is the terroir of Puente Alto in the Maipo Valley.”

The terroir is in the foothills of the Andes so it has a cold influence, and the soil is extremely poor which produces low quantities of very small grapes bursting with flavour.

Carolyn Etherington, Concha Y Toro’s fine wines marketing manager, says there was never any question Siem Reap would not be included on the tour.

“We work in Vietnam and Cambodia with our distributor, Celliers d’Asie, and for them Siem Reap is the centre of the history of Cambodia in terms of the identity and the cultural heritage, so we felt that it was important for us to showcase our own historical iconic wine in such a city.”

Aguado adds, “As a company we’ve always been really close to Siem Reap. Three years ago we organised our Asian distributor’s summit here. We had a dinner at one of the temples, that was fantastic, so we’ve always had some roots and special connection here.”

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