Cheval des Andes

  • The joint venture between Cheval Blanc and Terrazas de Los Andes, notably the first ever for Cheval Blanc, 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 one of the most important varieties in Saint Émilion and Pomerol, had since been reincarnated and ungrafted form in Argentina, producing some of the world’s best Malbecs in recent years.

    Along with the Malbec renaissance in Argentina emerged an ambitious vision to forge a new path in international winemaking. 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: the 77 year old Las Compuertas Vineyard owned by Terrazas de Los Andes, found in Vistalba, Mendoza.

    An intriguing blend of talents and outcomes with important ageing potential as a collector’s wine, Cheval des Andes is a New World Grand Cru distinguished for its refined subtlety and balance, complexity and elegance. A wine crafted to “fit in the spirit of Cheval Blanc”, yet displaying the characteristic fruit intensity of its Argentine roots, Cheval des Andes is a masterful expression of two winemaking cultures.

    The Blend
    Cheval des Andes wines are a blend of Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes from the "Las Compuertas" vineyards near Mendoza, in the Cordilleras, or foothills, of the Andes. The Malbec vines have never been grafted.

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  • We recently had the opportunity to speak with Nicolas Audebert, Winemaker at Cheval des Andes - you can see the video on YouTube.

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  • Location: Las Compuertas, North side of Mendoza terroir, at about 1,060m of Altitude

    Soil: Deep, sandy soil with rocks at depth.

    Irrigation : The traditional irrigation of the vineyard using pure melting water from the Andes is carried out by surface runoff. The water is conducted by small furrows located at the foot of the vinestock.

    Temperature: range between optimal daytime high temperature and nighttime low temperature, due to a breeze coming down from the hills near the mountains at night.

    Vineyards: Specific vineyards used by Cheval des Andes, separate from Terrazas vineyards.

    Winemaking Notes:
    - Hand-harvesting in the cool hours of the morning.
    - Hand-sorting of bunches and berries before pressing.
    - 30 days Maceration after fermentation, combining pigeage and delestage.
    - Varietals undergo 18 months of aging in French oak barrels separately in New French Oak
    - Assemblage definition and elaboration: Primarily Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon (some vintages will contain small amounts of Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Petit Verdot.)
    - Final blend is aged in new French oak barrels during 6 more months. Racking and no filtering
    - Bottling and extended bottle aging for at least 18 months before release

    Color: great color intensity, contributed mainly by Malbec, of deep violet-blue highlights that indicates its youth.

    Aroma: opens with a fresh nose, with subtle notes of pink grapefruit and orange blossom, followed by fresh red fruit, such as strawberry, blackcurrant and cherry. Upon agitating, complexity shows up, notes of black pepper and rosemary, a typical expression of a Cabernet Sauvignon of good maturity, that combines harmoniously with mentholated aromas, followed by raspberry and sour cherry.

    Palate: first approach to mouth is wide and complex. Silky and mature tannins that combines with elegant notes of smoke and tobacco. Unctuous, juicy, with a long and persistent finish. A wine that perfectly combines its young vivacity with the elegance of a mature structure.

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