September 10, 2020
Just Released. The Cheval Blanc Touch, Ninety-Year-Old Vines, and High Altitudes Deliver Unrivalled Pedigree for What is the Greatest Value from South America! Just Ten Cases.
“This is the Greatest Cheval des Andes Ever.” – James Suckling
Right on the heels of our 2017 Solaia debut, is yet another Bordeaux blend that has inspired us from outside the Medoc. This time we are turning our heads south to what is arguably the most exciting wine region in the world for value. As you may already be aware, the 2019 and 2020 vintages were monumental for the wines of South America. In addition, the releases of the 2017 Clos Apalta and 2018 Seña stunned the wine world. But the wine that stood out for us in a recent tasting was not these first growths of the Southern Hemisphere, but the 2017 Cheval des Andes! It is the relative value and pedigree it offers next to its prestigious neighbors in Chile. From its historic site in the heart of Mendoza, Argentina, the estate is the 20-year project of the team behind Bordeaux’s famed Château Cheval Blanc. It takes its name from the series of terraces at the foot of the Andes mountains with altitudes ranging from 2,000 to 5,000 feet. This challengingly high altitude, along with drastic day and night temperature differences, delivers the wine’s unique aromatic complexity, refined character, and age-ability, and in the 2017 vintage, the estate has hit another home run.
Why should you buy the 2017 Cheval des Andes? Not only is the wine made by Pierre Lurton (Cheval Blanc) and the highly respected Franco-Argentine team with over 200 years of expertise, this bottling comes from 100% low-yielding old vines of Luján de Cuyo (first planted, ungrafted, in 1929) - making it the true grand cru of the Andes. In 2017, the wine has received critical praise from The Wine Advocate and James Suckling. Whereas the proclaimed perfect wine in the 2017 Almaviva delivers a richer and rounder expression, there is more energy in this high-toned expression from the Andes! And what we appreciate further, is that at just $78.99, the 2017 Cheval des Andes represents the greatest value among the year’s releases from the Andes. The value is even more pronounced when you consider Cheval Blanc is released at $650+ a bottle. Just 5,000 cases are produced, and we are pleased to present just ten cases with some of the best pricing in the country.
Featured Wines: The New Grand Cru of the Andes and More
Note: wines are pre-arrival
Additional Note(s) and Reviews:
2017 Cheval des Andes
100 Points, James Suckling: “This is the greatest Cheval des Andes ever. The integration of fruit, tannins and acidity is fantastic. Full-bodied, tight and solid with beautiful depth and integrity. Extremely long and exciting. Complex and compelling. Available in September 2020. Better after 2024.” 07/19
97+ Points, Luis Gutierrez, Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate: “In the last few years, a handful of wines from Chile and Argentina—often French owned—have been released in September through the Place de Bordeaux, the network of négociants that sell most of the Bordeaux wines and some of the leading wines from other regions. The 2017 Cheval des Andes is one such wine. 2017 saw an early harvest, but they started picking on the 6th of March and continued until the 10th of April, more or less normal dates, early but not so much. The varietal break down this vintage comes to 62% Malbec and 38% Cabernet Sauvignon, and the wine is slightly riper and higher in alcohol than 2016 (this 2017 is 14.2% alcohol). The different plots fermented separately with selected yeasts, and the élevage lasted for 15 months and was in 50/50 new and second use barrels, 90% of them French and the rest made with wood from Eastern Europe. They used 45% Bordeaux barrels, 45% 400-liter barrels and, for the first time, a 2,500-liter oak foudre. This is clearly the darkest of the trio of vintages I tasted together here—2015, 2016 and 2017—but all three have the elegant and powerful profile, the luxurious and creamy character found in the best Bordeaux wines in the last few years, wines of power with precision, concentration, energy and finesse. This seems to combine the clout of the 2015 and the freshness of the 2016 and feels something in between those two vintages. Their work in the vineyard toward the maturity of the tannins meant the challenge in 2017 was to not let the grapes ripen too fast and too early. The work is different for Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec, to get round tannins in Cabernet and get some tension in Malbec, the contrary of the normal tendency of the varieties. 2017 has less ripeness than the 2015 but more density than the 2016. The texture is velvety, precise and harmonious. This year, they introduced a larger foudre for 10% of the wine, with the aim to reach 20%, so that volume is increasing every year. I think this is showing more precision, and in a more challenging year, they managed to keep the quality on par with 2016. They have changed the label this year, to a cleaner and more elegant label that also reflects the direction the wine is going in.” 08/19
Should you have any questions on these exciting wines, or would like to take advantage of this offer while supplies last, we are asking that you email orders back to me
All my best,