About the Wine
In 1999, Château Cheval Blanc started a joint venture with Terrazas de Los Andes and Cheval des Andes was born. Since then, a predominantly Malbec, Bordeaux-style blend has become the signature of Cheval des Andes and highlighted as one of Argentina's premiere wines! The wine of Cheval des Andes combines the vibrant and intense expression of Argentinian Malbec with the rigor, elegance, and savoir-faire of a great Bordeaux. These wines are elegant, meaning they are the most refined expression of the terroir of Mendoza.
Cheval des Andes produces its wines entirely from two wholly-owned, high-altitude vineyards: Las Compuertas in Luján de Cuyo, the oldest and most classic winegrowing region of Mendoza, and La Consulta, in the distinguished region of the Uco Valley, further South. Las Compuertas sits at 3,500 feet, on gentle slopes in Luján de Cuyo. It has alluvial, deep silty-loam soils composed of sand, limestone, and clay that are well-suited for Cabernet Sauvignon. La Consulta rests at 3,600 feet within the Uco Valley. It is characterized by a greater diurnal temperature variation than Las Compuertas.
Vines are carefully observed plot by plot and berry samples are tasted on a daily basis in order to determine the precise date of picking. Grapes are harvested by hand during the first three weeks of April and vinified separately by sub-plot. After the malolactic fermentation, the Cheval des Andes and Château Cheval Blanc winemaking teams come together to create the “pre-assemblage” which constitutes the basis for the final blend. This blend is aged for 16 to 18 months in a selection of new and second-use Bordeaux barrels of French and Austrian oak.
Tasting Notes: Red Wine. In the glass, the wine is an intense red with purple hints. The nose showcases a very intense aromatic expression. A bouquet of aromas jump out the glass: cherry, wild strawberries, and spices. On the palate, the the wine is balanced. A supple and fresh attack add a liveliness. Soft, precise tannins bring an attractive structure with an elegant finish.
This is the greatest Cheval des Andes ever. The integration of fruit, tannins and acidity is fantastic. Full-bodied, tight and solid with beautiful depth and integrity. Extremely long and exciting. Complex and compelling. Available in September 2020. Better after 2024. ~100 James Suckling, #9 Top 100 of 2020
In the last few years, a handful of wines from Chile and Argentina—often French owned—have been released in September through the Place de Bordeaux, the network of négociants that sell most of the Bordeaux wines and some of the leading wines from other regions. The 2017 Cheval des Andes is one such wine. 2017 saw an early harvest, but they started picking on the 6th of March and continued until the 10th of April, more or less normal dates, early but not so much. The varietal break down this vintage comes to 62% Malbec and 38% Cabernet Sauvignon, and the wine is slightly riper and higher in alcohol than 2016 (this 2017 is 14.2% alcohol). The different plots fermented separately with selected yeasts, and the élevage lasted for 15 months and was in 50/50 new and second use barrels, 90% of them French and the rest made with wood from Eastern Europe. They used 45% Bordeaux barrels, 45% 400-liter barrels and, for the first time, a 2,500-liter oak foudre. This is clearly the darkest of the trio of vintages I tasted together here—2015, 2016 and 2017—but all three have the elegant and powerful profile, the luxurious and creamy character found in the best Bordeaux wines in the last few years, wines of power with precision, concentration, energy and finesse. This seems to combine the clout of the 2015 and the freshness of the 2016 and feels something in between those two vintages. Their work in the vineyard toward the maturity of the tannins meant the challenge in 2017 was to not let the grapes ripen too fast and too early. The work is different for Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec, to get round tannins in Cabernet and get some tension in Malbec, the contrary of the normal tendency of the varieties. 2017 has less ripeness than the 2015 but more density than the 2016. The texture is velvety, precise and harmonious. This year, they introduced a larger foudre for 10% of the wine, with the aim to reach 20%, so that volume is increasing every year. I think this is showing more precision, and in a more challenging year, they managed to keep the quality on par with 2016. They have changed the label this year, to a cleaner and more elegant label that also reflects the direction the wine is going in. 81,500 bottles produced. It was bottled in January 2019. ~97 Robert Parker
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