Drink 2026 - 2042
Jane Anson, Decanter.com (Sept 2021)
The 2018 Cheval des Andes is a blend of 70% Malbec and 30% Cabernet Sauvignon fermented in small lots in 3,000- to 8,000-liter tanks and matured 40% in 225-liter oak barrels, 40% in 400-liter oak barrels and the remaining 20% in 2,500-liter oak vats for 13 months. Ninety percent of the oak used was French and the rest a blend of Austrian, Slovenian and German oak, 50% of it new. 2018 has been one of the best vintages in recent times in Mendoza, and the wine shows it. It's a cooler vintage, and the wine has improved in freshness and elegance without losing any clout. It's 14.5% alcohol and has a pH of 3.73. This is young, juicy, elegant and balanced and still has some herbal and toasted notes; it's medium to full-bodied, with the creamy and luxurious texture of the modern Bordeaux, ultra fine tannins and a long, dry and precise finish. It's still undeveloped and seems to have all the components and the balance between them for a long and positive development in bottle. With wines like this, I sometimes wish I had a time machine so I could see them in 20 years from now... I think this is the finest Cheval des Andes I've ever tasted. 100,000 bottles produced. It was bottled in January 2020.
Drink 2022 - 2040
James Suckling, jamessuckling.com (Dec 2020)
About this WINE
Cheval des Andes
Described as a ‘New World Grand Cru’, Cheval des Andes is a high-end wine project that is a collaboration between Terrazas de los Andes and Pierre Lurton of Cheval Blanc. The joint venture was proposed by Pierre Lurton in 1999 when he realized the potential for top quality wines that existed in certain sites in Mendoza. Lurton was eager in connecting again with the grape of Saint Emilion’s past: Malbec. A grape that was decimated by phylloxera in the 1860s from its position as one of the most important varieties in Saint Emilion and Pomerol. It has since been reincarnated at Cheval des Andes in an un-grafted form in Argentina, producing some of the world’s best Malbecs in recent years. Cheval des Andes wines are a blend of Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes from the high elevation, old vine vineyard "Las Compuertas" near Mendoza.
To Lurton, Cheval des Andes is an “exotic wine with a Bordelais touch”. To Nicolas Audebert, its winemaker and a French ex-pat who used to make Krug and Veuve Clicquot, it’s the “best of two worlds: a combination of the intensity of Argentinian fruit but dressed in a very elegant way with that French style”.
With its western borderline dominated by the Andes and its 146,000 hectares of vineyards representing 70% of the country’s wine production, Mendoza is Argentina’s biggest and most important wine-growing province.
Mendoza’s vineyards are a haven to Old World varieties including Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, Tempranillo, Bonarda, Sangiovese, Barbera, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Chenin Blanc. The province’s signature grape is Malbec.
Mendoza still produces large amounts of inexpensive wine for domestic consumption, as well as grape concentrate, but the sub-region of Luján de Cuyo stands out with some lovely velvety Malbecs, while the cool, gravelly Maipú is best for Cabernet Sauvignon.
The most exciting area in Mendoza for fine whites, however, is the Uco Valley, that has the highest vineyards, up to 1,200 metres above sea level. Chardonnay, Sauvignon, Chenin, Pinot Grigio and Torrontés fare particularly well in its cool climate. Its sub-region of Tupungato produces Argentina’s best Chardonnay.
There are over 200 different grape varieties used in modern wine making (from a total of over 1000). Most lesser known blends and varieties are traditional to specific parts of the world.