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Cheval des Andes 2009

Bordeaux Red Blends from Mendoza, Argentina
  • JS95
  • WE93
  • RP92
  • W&S92
  • WS91
14.5% ABV
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14.5% ABV

Winemaker Notes

The discovery of Cheval de Andes defies tasting terms. The Bordeaux-style blending of this "Grand Cru" from the other side of the world expresses, in turn, finesse and exoticism, power and freshness, elegance and authenticity. Its prestigious tutors have guaranteed its powers of seduction. It is a wine that follows no fashion.

Critical Acclaim

All Vintages
JS 95
James Suckling
This is very ripe and juicy on the nose with hints of jam and blueberry character. Full body, with firm tannins and a juicy, savory finish. Lots of hazelnut and dark chocolate character. Drinking beautifully. Dynamic red. 59% malbec, 36% cabernet sauvignon, 5% petit verdot.
WE 93
Wine Enthusiast
Toasty, minty and true to form, this Malbec-Cabernet blend is heady stuff, with hard tannins and plenty of ripeness. Blackberry, coffee, chocolate and herbal flavors are aggressive yet harmonious, while the finish is black and muscular in nature. With such tough tannins, this needs time to settle; best after 2017.
Cellar Selection
RP 92
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The 2009 Cheval des Andes is a blend produced with grapes grown in Las Compuertas, in Lujan de Cuyo, from vineyards planted in 1929. It is a big, ripe blend of 59% Malbec, 36% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Petit Verdot which is very deep purple-colored, with a bright rim and an opaque center. The nose is completely closed and ungiving, so you need to exercise your wrist and swirl your glass around energetically and you’ll get rewarded with subtle and complex notes of forest floor, leather, cigar box, and cured meat, but especially shiny, perfectly ripe black fruit aromas. The palate is medium to full-bodied, with velvety tannins, superb integration of the oak and focused flavors of cassis, blueberries, soil and faint violets. Great in a slightly international style, a little ripe. A big, ripe Argentine Cheval.
W&S 92
Wine & Spirits
Rich and round, filled with scents of coffee and sweet spice, this is a voluptuous blend of malbec, cabernet sauvignon and petit verdot. With time in the glass, its complexities begin to unfold into notes of earth and herbs. This comes from vines planted in 1928 in Las Compuertas, one of the highest altitude vineyards in Luján de Cuyo.
WS 91
Wine Spectator
This ripe, structured red mixes notes of dark cassis, plum puree, licorice and maduro tobacco. Tight now, but should open in a year or two. Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot and Merlot. Best from 2015 through 2020.
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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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By far the largest and best-known winemaking province in Argentina, Mendoza is responsible for over 70% of the country’s enological output. Set in the eastern foothills of the Andes Mountains, the climate is dry and continental, presenting relatively few challenges for viticulturists during the growing season. Mendoza, divided into several distinctive sub-regions, including Luján de Cuyo and the Uco Valley, is the source of some of the country’s finest wines.

For many wine lovers, Mendoza is practically synonymous with Malbec. Originally a Bordelaise variety brought to Argentina by the French in the mid-1800s, here it found success and renown that it never knew in its homeland where a finicky climate gives mixed results. Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Merlot and Pinot Noir are all widely planted here as well (and sometimes even blended with each other or Malbec). Mendoza's main white varieties include Chardonnay, Torrontés, Sauvignon Blanc and Sémillon.

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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.

RRM49584_2009 Item# 129044