2014 Cheval des Andes (1.5L)

Malbec from Mendoza, Argentina

2014 Cheval des Andes
B-21 Top Recommendation
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As President of Chateau Cheval Blanc – one of only four Saint-Emilion Chateaux ranked Premier Grand Cru Classé (A) – Pierre Lurton knows his way around the world's finest terroirs. He also knows the fine art of blending, the importance of each varietal and its specific plot – and he knows the long historical relevance of Argentinian Malbec and its ties to Bordeaux. So when he and his partners went searching for the ideal location for their New World venture, it didn't take long to reach a decision.

Terrazas de los Andes, the most important, oldest vineyards in the western foothills of the Andes, are home to parcels of vines planted to their original rootstocks as far back as 1929. It was here, in the 1990s, that Pierre Lurton reconnected Cheval Blanc's historical past to its modern roots, securing Terrazas de los Andes' oldest single vineyard – the 80+-year-old Las Compuertas site – after tasting the Malbec it produced. This ancient, inhospitable site, with its high elevation had completely avoided the ravages of phylloxera, while Saint Emilion and Pomerol had been devastated by the root disease in the 1860s – decimating Malbec, once the most important varietal of the Right Bank.

Pierre Lurton was intrigued by the notion of forging a renaissance. He would combine the extraordinary experience of a Premier Grand Cru Classé (A) Saint Emilion estate with the very finest terroir in Argentina. This alliance opened the door to greater creativity, advancements in winemaking for their New World project (Pierre Oliver Clouet, head winemaker at Cheval Blanc now oversees winemaking for Cheval des Andes) and the never ending flexibility that has allowed this Argentinian project to become the envy of South America.

2014 – Luis Gutierrez says "this has to be the best Cheval des Andes I've tried so far." This wine is rightfully worthy of its moniker: The Cheval Blanc of Argentina.

97WA

The 2014 Cheval des Andes is a different blend than previous years and contains a high percentage of Malbec and more Petit Verdot than Cabernet Sauvignon. This reflects the strict selection they had to do in a rainy year that was very challenging for Cabernet Sauvignon, especially in certain parts of the traditional vine-growing regions of Mendoza. The final breakdown of the blend is 83% Malbec, 9% Petit Verdot and 8% Cabernet Sauvignon. It is from the first of a series of three wet vintages where they see lower temperatures as an advantage to get where they want to go. They are more after elegance, freshness and complexity rather than power. In this vintage, they only used 15% new oak for the élevage in order to preserve the fresh aromatic expression of Malbec, and the aging lasted 15 months. It's incredibly fresh and floral, superbly balanced and very charming. This is the year with the most Malbec ever; it was an accident, but it was the kind of Malbec they like. They generally aim to have more Cabernet in the blend, but that wasn't possible in this low-yielding vintage. The palate is very balanced and elegant, with very good freshness and some restraint, not alcoholic or sweet at all. They find a lot of similarities with 2014 in Bordeaux—classical, fresh, quite transparent and juicy but precise. This has to be the best Cheval des Andes I've tried so far. They tell me this is the first vintage that really follows the style they want to produce in Argentina, with balance, complexity and freshness, away from high alcohol, extraction, oak and excess. The style will be slightly different since there will be more Cabernet Sauvignon, and their final target might be around 50/50 Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon. 31,116 bottles, 845 magnums and 50 jeroboams were filled in December 2015.

97 points, Luis Gutiérrez, Wine Advocate (Issue # 237 - Jun 2018)

Alcohol By Volume: 14.0%
#ARCHMR14AG
$199.98
This item is a pre-order estimated to arrive 06/28/21. 12 bottles available.

1
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