Concha Y Toro: The Chilean Brand that Changed the Wine World

I remember the day I was browsing the April 1988 Wine Spectator issue when I ran across a Concha y Toro Cabernet Sauvignon review from the 1984 vintage, which received a whopping 89 point score. Back then, an 89 score was considered a good thing. At $6 a bottle, it was in my price range, and wines from Chile were starting to earn reputations for excellent QPR even before marketing firms had invented the phrase. I immediately purchased a bottle and agreed with Wine Spectator tasters.

These early wines were pre-Don Melchor or Marques de Casa Concha so all of Concha Y Toro’s grape production went into their basic varietal wines and that was fantastic for the consumer. At this point, they have seventy-two different labels—yeah, they are a big winery. The quality of those introductory wines captured the palates, minds and pocketbooks of wine consumers everywhere. The deluge of worldwide distribution caught on almost as fast as the internet did when it was first introduced, and as the saying goes, the rest is history. Countless bottles later I will never hesitate to reach for a bottle of Conca Y Toro, pulling the cork with confidence, and knowing I am about to taste some great wine. Cheers!

2013 Vina Concho Y Toro Don Melchor Cabernet Sauvignon Puente Alto Vineyard, Chile

This is vintage number twenty-seven of the Don Melchor Cabernet Sauvignon. Every time I taste this wine, I take stock of the blessings I’ve been given in this life. This statement from winemaker Enrique Tirado illustrates the reverence he has for Concha Y Toro’s flagship bottling: “For me, Don Melchor is an ongoing quest to get the truest possible expression from every plant in the vineyard to attain beauty in the equilibrium from each Puente Alto terroir harvest. It’s my true obsession.” 

I have had the pleasure of tasting several vintages of the 28 produced thus far of Don Melchor and they have always been outstanding, representing the pinnacle of Cabernet Sauvignon experiences.  Enrique is very earnest in delivering on his promises regarding the quality structure and style of the wines from these vineyards.

Striking full-bodied flavors of decadent red fruit dominate the palate as the plushmoblie delivers the wine ride of a lifetime—full of soft subtle savory notes finishing with black pepper and a nuance of graphite.

Excellent | $125 | 14.5% ABV

2014 Concha Y Toro Chardonnay Marques de Casa Concha D.O. Limari, Chile

What a pleasure it is to be so fortunate to taste a wine like this. The producer has always provided great wines I can whole heartedly recommend. This Chardonnay is a bit of a time machine, especially if you have more than a couple of decades of tasting chardonnay under your belt. By that, I mean this chardonnay seems to have taken a little bit of the best characteristics from past vintages to include full malolactic fermentation and an 11 month French oak aging regimen.

Grapes for this wine are harvested from the Quebrada Seca Vineyard where the Pacific breezes have a recognizably positive influence on the fruit. In the capable hands of winemaker Marcelo Papa, these grapes transform into a formidable libation. Plenty of pear and apple nuances in the aromas and flavors, a significant hazelnut component joins the flavor profile in this full-bodied classically styled chardonnay. Consider pairing with roasted chicken or fresh boiled lobster. This wine is a workhorse at cleansing the palate.

Excellent | $22 | 14.0% ABV

2012 Concha Y Toro Marques Casa Concha Cabernet Sauvignon D.O. Puente Alto, Chile

This Marques Casa Concha series represents some of the best quality wine produced today at a price that makes it an ‘any night’ dinner table wine. The Marques Casa Concha is a rich wine of considerable magnitude, delivering black fruit and spice aromas in conjunction with flavors of plum, chocolate and mint ending in a black pepper and paprika nuanced finish. Grilled beef or game and smoked pork of any kind will pair well.

Excellent | $25 | 14.0% ABV

2016 Concha Y Toro Casillero del Diablo Merlot, Central Valley, Chile

This is the most honest $11 wine you’ll find on the market. Simple, straightforward and pleasant with spice and herbs.

Good | $11 | 12.0% ABV


About the Author:

Marc has held almost every position in the food & wine industry and is committed to Celebrating Hospitality with Pride. In addition to being the co-founder and editor-at-large for Enobytes, Marc is a wine blogger contributor to (Wine Bytes) and writes the Wine Knowledge column in the print magazine About Face. The Contra Costa County Times, San Jose Mercury News, Tacoma Times Tribune and Washington Post have either interviewed or quoted Marc on his viniferous and culinary opinions. Marc has also appeared on Portland's "Vine Time" on News Radio 750 KXL and on California's Central Coast "From the Growing of the Grape to the Glass" on KUHL-AM 1410. He is also the author of A History of Pacific Northwest Cuisine: Mastodons to Molecular Gastronomy. While continuing to tenaciously search for what he may finally proclaim as his favorite wine Marc is relentless in his quest for the ultimate food and wine experience.

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