2020 Cheval des Andes
  • 98
  • 96
  • 97
  • 98
  • Nick's Import

2020 Cheval des Andes

$230. 00
$2760.00 Dozen
Cellar: Drink now - 10 Years (2023-2033)
ABV: 14.5%
Closure: Cork

Cheval des Andes is the brainchild of Pierre Lurton from Cheval Blanc with the dream to follow the original Malbec vines from Bordeaux to Argentina. Malbec was brought to Argentina in the mid-19th century, and having avoided the phylloxera epidemic that swept through Europe, the ungrafted vines here represent a unique opportunity to express Malbec in a way not possible with the grafted vines found elsewhere. With this aim, Chateau Cheval Blanc started a joint venture with Terrazas de Los Andes in 1999 and Cheval des Andes was born. Since then, a predominantly Malbec, Bordeaux-style blend has become the signature of Cheval des Andes. The 2020 vintage is a blend of 49% Malbec, 49% Cabernet Sauvignon and 2% Petit Verdot.

Dense pitch black heart with a deep dark red black tinged hue. A potent mix of black cherry, blackcurrant and liquorice scents greet the nostrils followed by hints of ripe blueberry, spicy vanillin cedar, dusty earth, provincial herbs and traces of graphite. Rich, mouthfilling and powerful, a tidal wave of black cherry, liquorice, blackcurrant and blueberry fruits engulf the palate. Beautifully integrated graphite like tannins lend polish and provide an exemplary framework. Earth, tobacco, vanillin cedar, black olives and spicy dried herbs form the underbelly. There’s a refined edge to the long, gorgeously seductive conclusion.
Drink over the next 8-10 years.
Alc. 14.5%

Other Reviews....
The 2020 Cheval des Andes was harvested from the last of February for the first time ever. It was Gabillet's second vintage at Cheval des Andes, and that year, he had to start without waiting for Pierre Olivier Clouet and Pierre Lurton from Cheval Blanc; when they arrived, they had finished picking the Malbec, which surprisingly was fresher in Las Compuertas (because of the higher percentage of clay?) than in Altamira (where the vines suffered more stress), saving the freshness. They now harvest using cold trucks (for the first time), and they also started earlier in the morning (six in the morning, impossible earlier in Mendoza...), which he reckons was very good for the precision of the wine. They used 40% 225-liter barrels, 40% 400-liter oak barrels and 20% 2,500-liter foudres, half of them new and with an élevage of 15 months on average, depending on the lots and varieties from 12 to 18 months. The final blend was 49% Cabernet Sauvignon, 29% Malbec and 2% Petit Verdot, which makes a comeback as it was not used since 2016. The key was to finish the fermentation of the Petit Verdot without skins, and that way, they have been able to use it in the blends of 2021, 2022 and 2023 in small but increasing percentages. This is slightly riper than 2019, with a little more alcohol (14.5%) and with very good structural tannins but saving the freshness, and it has the spicy side from the Petit Verdot (Gabillet talks about white pepper). The wine has the ultra sleek and polished texture and the elegance and the balance that is the signature here; the wine is very clean and precise. I see very good regularity across the three vintages I tasted next to each other—this 2020 and the 2018 and 2019. Overall, this is a triumph over the adverse conditions of the vintage. They produced their usual 100,000 bottles (since 2018), as they are renewing their vineyards and want to keep the volume stable. They produce this volume from the 36 productive hectares they have in Las Compuertas and Altamira. Drink 2024-2034.
98 points
Luis Gutierrez – Robert Parker’s The Wine Advocate

Ripe, baked dark cherries with spices and some violets. Hints of graphite, cocoa powder, incense and black pepper. Dried rose petals. A slightly fuller Cheval des Andes with tense, silky tannins and a lingering, generous finish. Ripe, but still has lots of restraint and precision. 49% malbec, 49% cabernet sauvignon with a 2% petit verdot. 24% of the malbec comes from Altamira and all the rest of the fruit come from Las Compuertas. Drink or hold.
97 points

The 2020 Cheval des Andes is a blend of 49% Cabernet Sauvignon, 49% Malbec and 2% Petit Verdot from Paraje Altamira in the Uco Valley and Las Compuertas in Luján de Cuyo. Aged in French oak barrels, it's purple in the glass with a garnet sheen. The nose reveals a well-judged approach to the warmth of 2020, featuring ripe plum, redcurrant, mint and hints of white pepper over a bed of bay leaf and cedar. It's dry and velvety on the palate, with rich, polished tannins that deliver a juicy, balanced mouthfeel. The balsamic notes and rich palate reflect the year's character, while the finish is dynamic and long-lasting. Drink 2025-2035.
96 points
Joaquin Hidalgo - Vinous