by Andrew Chalk
Word from Fall Creek Vineyards in the Texas Hill Country is that they have hired Sergio Cuadra Schlie as their new winemaker. Schlie is a Chilean who brings a vast range of experience with working for or consulting to such names as global superstar winemaker Paul Hobbs, Chile’s largest winery Concha y Toro and California vintner Fetzer Vineyards. He trained at the Unversidad de Talca in Chile as an Agronomy Engineer.
This is a very significant hire for Fall Creek. Not just because of Schlie’s qualifications and experience, but because of what it signifies about the winery’s intentions. Here is a Texas winery entering the global winemaking employment market for talent. The rationale has to be a push to the top of the pack among Texas wineries. I suspect this kind of reaching with become more common in the near future and interpret it as yet another indication of the increasingly maturity of the Texas wine industry.
by Andrew Chalk
Can a Chilean wine age and improve for a quarter of a century? More expert Dallas wine tasters are saying ‘yes’ today after an impressive vertical showing by parent winery Concha y Toro of their flagship Don Melchor to a trade audience last week where i was an invited guest. Backed by the wine-friendly food and seamless service of The Capital Grille Dallas, winemaker Enrique Tirado made a presentation about Don Melchor and guided attendees through a tasting of the 1989, 1993, 2006 and 2009 vintages.
Don Melchor was the founder of Concha y Toro. The decision to name a wine in his honor came after a 1986 initiative by the head of the winery, Don Eduardo Guilisasti Tagle, to send his son along with the winery’s enologist to Bordeaux to meet with legendary French enologist and University Professor Emile Peynaud. They were to take samples of Concha y Toro Cabernet Sauvignon wine from their Puente Alta vineyard for Peynaud’s assessment. Peynaud was impressed, and an agreement was struck with his business partner Jacques Boissenot to work with Concha y Toro to develop the wine. In 1987 the first product of that partnership, the first vintage of Don Melchor, was released to the market amid widespread acclaim. Continue reading