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15% | ARGENTINA

The wine of Cheval des Andes combines the vibrant and intense expression of Argentinian Malbec with the rigour, elegance and savoir-faire of a great Bordeaux. It is a unique blend...
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The wine of Cheval des Andes combines the vibrant and intense expression of Argentinian Malbec with the rigour, elegance and savoir-faire of a great Bordeaux.

It is a unique blend of Malbec grapes and Bordeaux varietals – an ensemble with the exuberance of Malbec balanced by the temperance of Cabernet Sauvignon, completed with hints of Petit Verdot.

The vision of Cheval des Andes is to bring Château Cheval Blanc’s winemaking philosophy – which focusses on cellaring potential and elegance – to Argentina. Cheval des Andes makes wines that age gracefully and “travel through the decades,” according to Pierre Lurton, President of Château Cheval Blanc and Cheval des Andes.

These wines are elegant, meaning they are the most refined expression of the terroir of Mendoza. On the nose, they are complex rather than intense and on the palate, they are balanced rather than powerful.

The inspiration for Cheval des Andes came from the dream of founder Pierre Lurton to follow the original Malbec vines from Bordeaux to Argentina.

Years ago, Malbec was widely cultivated in Bordeaux and was brought to Argentina in the mid-19th century, only decades before the grape would be decimated in France by a phylloxera epidemic. Today, the only Malbec that exists in Bordeaux has grafted roots, which make it more resistant but also alter its quality. The vines which travelled to the New World over a century ago are ungrafted.

When Pierre Lurton discovered the stunning Malbec vineyard of Las Compuertas, planted in Mendoza in 1929, he was immediately captivated, declaring, “This will be a journey to the roots of Bordeaux.” He wanted to bring yesterday’s Bordeaux wines back to life, reconnecting Château Cheval Blanc with the history of Saint-Emilion.

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.

Cheval des Andes inherits its precision viticulture from Terrazas de los Andes, where, after years of identifying terraced slots with the best altitude for the best varietal expression of its different grapes, the team used advanced soil analysis to further divide vineyards into sub-plots, each of which is cultivated, harvested and vinified separately, to optimize the terroir expression of each. Only at the end are they blended together, relying on 180 years of expertise in this art.

Las Compuertas means “the floodgates” in Spanish – a name which comes from the unique way the vineyard gets its water. Traditionally, Mendoza vineyards are characterized by a unique flood irrigation method originally developed by the Incas. Pure water from the snowmelt of the Andes flows down the rivers and is channelled into small ditches that run along the vines. This traditional system has key advantages: because the water is drained at depth, it forces the vines to develop deep roots; it also allows for the cultivation of ungrafted vines by periodically drowning pests such as phylloxera.

In 2018, a modern drip irrigation system – still using the snowmelt, which the Estate stores in reservoirs – was implemented. This technique favours the distribution of water with more precision, meeting the vines’ specific needs efficiently (they absorb around 90% of this water).

Reviews for 2016 Vintage:

"Super refined and beautiful with flowers, spices, dried fruit and hints of stones. Medium to full body with very fine tannins and a gorgeous finish. Shows great finesse and depth. Savory character, as always, but in check. Drink in 2022."
Score: 99, James Suckling, JamesSuckling.com (228), March 2019

"The new vintage to be released in September 2019 is the 2016 Cheval des Andes, which was cropped from a completely unusual year—cooler than the average and with an exceptional amount of rain (around 600 liters), yet the wine has achieved exceptional freshness. It's 13.9% alcohol, and there's more red fruit on the nose, which is subtle and elegant, a little closed at first, shy and subtle. They have done great adjustments in the élevage, with the wine matured in 30% to 40% 400-liter barrels and only some 40% new wood. It's 58% Malbec (approximately 50/50 from Luján and Valle de Uco, where they have 15 hectares in Altamira), 37% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Petit Verdot. This has less structure than the 2015, but there's more tension; this is a wine that should develop beautifully in bottle. This is a vintage of precision and with great aging potential. I think this wine is the most elegant produced so far. Bravo! 64,000 bottles produced. 2020-2036"
Score: 97+, Luis Gutierrez, Wine Advocate (244), August 2019

Key Facts

Size
75cl
Grapes
Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec and Merlot and Petit Verdot
Country
Argentina
Region
Mendoza
Vintage
2009
ABV %
15%
Organic
No
Vegan
No

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