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Cheval des Andes 2013

Bordeaux Red Blends from Mendoza, Argentina
  • JS98
  • RP96
  • WS92
  • WE92
15% ABV
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15% ABV

Winemaker Notes

Intense red color with purple shades. The nose is subtle, whispered and precise, but at the same time wide and enveloping. It reveals delicate fresh aromas such as violet and pepper in harmony with warmer ones such as raspberry and black fruits. On the palate, the wine represents an elegant expression of Cheval des Andes in a warm vintage. Its full-body, manifested from the mouth entry, is accompanied by very fine tannins that converge in a tense finish with marked acidity and freshness.

Blend: 67% Malbec, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Petit Verdot

Critical Acclaim

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JS 98
James Suckling
The purity of fruit is so impressive here with flowers, dark fruit, and strawberries. Full body, ultra-fine tannins, and a focus and beauty that makes you think. So long and elegant. 67% malbec, 25% cabernet sauvignon and 8% petit verdot.
RP 96
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
At Cheval des Andes they consider 2013 as a warm vintage, because even if the winter saw average temperatures, the spring and summer were warmer than normal. The 2013 Cheval des Andes came up to 67% Malbec, 26% Cabernet Sauvignon and 7% Petit Verdot mostly from their vineyards at Las Compuertas at some 1,1000 meters altitude and some fruit from their 15 hectares at La Consulta in the Valle de Uco, that they use when they don't find it too ripe. Even if they tend to pick early, the bottled wine is a ripe and heady blend hitting the scale at 15% alcohol fermented relatively warm (28 degrees Celsius) for some 25 days. After malolactic in tank, all different lots go into barrel and they try to make the blend as soon as possible, usually during the first winter so the wine ages together for some 15 to 18 months in French oak barriques. They have reduced the amount of new wood used (only 30%) to avoid overwhelming the fruit with aromas but providing complexity and clarifying the wine naturally. From this vintage onward they have been able to not acidify the wine, as they changed their approach to viticulture, and they are now able to burn the green notes and harvest early, with natural acidity and lower alcohol. The key to this is to get something like 30-35 hectoliters per hectare. I think this is absolutely the right approach, and this change started in 2010--with 100% estate fruit, no oenological products used, fresh maturity without greenness through lower yields. In 2013, they consider they have achieved what they want, but kept improving in 2014, 2015 and 2016. The 2014 had just been bottled and I didn't have the chance to taste it, but they told me they prefer 2014 to 2013. If that is the case, 2014 should be mind-blowing, because 2013 is simply superb. To Pierre Olivier Clouet, another key point is how to manage irrigation. The result of all this is more and more precise wines, with greater definition, purity and freshness. They are also avoiding residual sugar, so the wines are completely dry. They also started to work with 500-liter oak barrels, trying to find the integration of the oak keeping the percentage of new barrels but using larger ones. Malbec is quite sensitive to oak, and again, this approach has worked perfectly here. Finally, they are also moderating extraction, with a longer maceration but less pumping over, because with too much pumping over you have the risk of extracting too much dry tannin. It has great balance and freshness, with great elegance, and super-refined tannins. I've never tasted such an elegant Cheval des Andes, all about finesse and balance. Bravo to the new team! I'm really looking for ward to tasting the following vintages. 70,000 bottles produced. It was bottled in March 2015.
WS 92
Wine Spectator
Offers a rich, loamy aroma, with flavors to match, along with plenty of roasted plum and dark cherry elements. Well-structured, showing mocha notes on the dense finish. Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot.
WE 92
Wine Enthusiast
Inky aromas of black fruits include hints of graphite. This feels lush and dense, with fairly soft tannins. Blackberry, beef jerky and leathery notes comprise the flavor profile. Notes of coffee and chocolate grace a ripe, rich finish.
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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.

SWS477410_2013 Item# 168091