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Cheval des Andes 2006

Bordeaux Red Blends from Argentina
  • RP96
  • W&S92
  • WE92
  • WS90
13.5% ABV
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13.5% ABV

Winemaker Notes

Deep black cherry color with mauve glints on the rim. Upon agitating, aromas of dried apricots and floral notes mix with warm scents of tobacco, red berry fruit macerated in brandy, cherry stones and home-made jam, together with cedar-wood, bay leaves and chocolate. The palate is warm and balanced, with freshness and minerals coming through on the mid-palate, along with black currant, spices and almond. Highly integrated, sweet tannins mingle with a long and elegant finish.

Critical Acclaim

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RP 96
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The 2006 Cheval des Andes was bottled in early 2008 but has not yet been released. The 2006 vintage is superb throughout Mendoza and this wine, as in many other bodegas I visited in April 2008, shows off the extra dimension of complexity made possible in an exceptional year. The wine is composed entirely of Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon. It is a bit more saturated than the 2005 with a splendid perfume of pain grille, mineral, espresso, black cherry, and black raspberry that leaps from the glass. More opulent and layered than the 2005, it also conceals a bit more structure. The finish seems to go on and on. Drink it from 2015 to 2035.
W&S 92
Wine & Spirits
From the joint venture between Cheval Blanc of St-Emilion and Terrazas de los Andes, this 2006 is still youthful, full of vitality and force. The tannins are wild, almost unruly, corralled by ripe flavors with the kind of depth that will reward cellaring. Give it three or four years, then open it with a ribeye.
WE 92
Wine Enthusiast
Dense and dark, with aromas of rubber and leather. Complex and stylish, but with raw power, and the flavors of blackberry, fig paste and herbs register as modern Mendoza. Malbec-Cabernet Sauvignon-Petit Verdot; best from 2011-2015
WS 90
Wine Spectator
This broad-shouldered red delivers a mix of dark currant, licorice, damson plum and blackberry fruit flavors, well-integrated with espresso-tinged toast. Stays dense and loamy through the finish. Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot. Drink now through 2011
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Cheval des Andes

Cheval des Andes

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Cheval des Andes, South America
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A joint venture between Chateau Cheval Blanc and Terrazas De Los Andes, this wine is a groundbreaking blend of legendary Bordeaux "First Growth" winemaking expertise with the very best terroir in Argentina.

Cheval des Andes originated as Director Pierre Lurton sought out a special international terroir in which to apply the storied blending heritage of the French château. Lurton was intrigued by the notion of unearthing a connection with the Saint Émilion past: Malbec, decimated by phylloxera in the 1860s from its position as the one of the most important varieties in Saint Emilion and Pomerol, had since been reincarnated in ungrafted form in Argentina, producing some of the world's best Malbecs in recent years.

Cheval Blanc's reconnection with its past was consummated in 1999 as Pierre Lurton visited a select parcel of the most treasured high elevation terroir in Argentina: Terrazas de los Andes' 76-year-old Las Compuertas vineyard, found in Vistalba, Mendoza. In resulting launch vintages of 2001 and 2002, according to Pierre Lurton, Cheval des Andes has proven to "fit in the spirit of Cheval Blanc," refined and elegant in its Bordeaux style, while displaying the characteristic fruit intensity of its Argentine roots.

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Argentina

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With vineyards tretching along the eastern side of the Andes Mountains from Patagonia in the south to Salta in the north, Argentina is one of the world’s largest and most dynamic wine producing countries—and most important in South America.

Since the late 20th century vineyard investments, improved winery technology and a commitment to innovation have all contributed to the country’s burgeoning image as a producer of great wines at all price points. The climate here is diverse but generally continental and agreeable, with hot, dry summers and cold snowy winters—a positive, as snow melt from the Andes Mountains is used heavily to irrigate vineyards. Grapes very rarely have any difficulty achieving full ripeness.

Argentina’s famous Mendoza region, responsible for more than 70% of Argentina’s wine production, is further divided into several sub-regions, with Luján de Cuyo and the Uco Valley most noteworthy. Red wines dominate here, especially Malbec, the country’s star variety, while Chardonnay is the most successful white.

The province of San Juan is best known for blends of Bonarda and Syrah. Torrontés is a specialty of the La Rioja and Salta regions, the latter of which is also responsible for excellent Malbecs grown at very high elevation.

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Bordeaux Blends

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One of the world’s most classic and popular styles of red wine, Bordeaux-inspired blends have spread from their homeland in France to nearly every corner of the New World, especially in California, Washington and Australia. Typically based on either Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot and supported by Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot, these are sometimes referred to in the US as “Meritage” blends. In Bordeaux itself, Cabernet Sauvignon dominates in wines from the Left Bank of the Gironde River, while the Right Bank focuses on Merlot. Often, blends from outside the region are classified as being inspired by one or the other.

In the Glass

Cabernet-based, Left-Bank-styled wines are typically more tannic and structured, while Merlot-based wines modeled after the Right Bank are softer and suppler. Cabernet Franc can add herbal notes, while Malbec and Petit Verdot contribute color and structure. Wines from Bordeaux lean towards a highly structured and earthy style whereas New World areas (as in the ones named above) tend to produce bold and fruit-forward blends. Either way, Bordeaux red blends generally have aromas and flavors of black currant, cedar, plum, graphite, and violet, with more red fruit flavors when Merlot makes up a high proportion of the blend.

Perfect Pairings

Since Bordeaux red blends are often quite structured and tannic, they pair best with hearty, flavorful and fatty meat dishes. Any type of steak makes for a classic pairing. Equally welcome with these wines would be beef brisket, pot roast, braised lamb or smoked duck.

Sommelier Secret

While the region of Bordeaux is limited to a select few approved grape varieties in specified percentages, the New World is free to experiment. Bordeaux blends in California may include equal amounts of Cabernet Franc and Malbec, for example. Occassionally a winemaker might add a small percentage of a non-Bordeaux variety, such as Syrah or Petite Sirah for a desired result.

SWS298407_2006 Item# 102599