This afternoon we are delighted to release one of Argentina’s finest, the utterly stunning Cheval des Andes 2015. The 2015 could be the finest ever, it has been awarded 98 points from James Suckling, his highest score. His tasting note is vibrant with praise, ‘ethereal sensibility, which gives it balance and freshness. I love the energy and precision. It’s all about subtlety. Despite the slightly difficult weather, this is a masterpiece in harmony.’ The price today on release is £275 per case of six, presenting brilliant value for a world-beater, which produces under 6,000 cases per vintage.
The combination of a high score and excellent price give it a superb Price over Points ratio (POP) of 30.5, once again, highlighting the superb value here. The average case price of Cheval des Andes over the last 6 years is £410, as such today’s release offers a 33% discount to its natural secondary market trading range and therefore an excellent entry point. However, at £46 a bottle for a world-class wine, this is one to age and pour!
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Cheval des Andes has cemented itself as one of the leading lights of New World wines. A world-famous collaboration between Terrazas de los Andes and Pierre Lurton, the CEO of Cheval Blanc and Chateau d’Yquem. The joint venture was fashioned in 1999, when Lurton realized the potential of Mendoza. He was also drawn to the poetic notion that the prominent grape there, Malbec, was once a meaningful part of the selection in St. Emilion, largely lost to phylloxera. The vision was to create a synthesis between Bordeaux style, technique and winemaking in the phylloxera-free Andean vineyards.
The 2015 is a heady blend of 69% Malbec and 31% Cabernet Sauvignon, largely derived from the Las Compuertas vineyards, which boasts some 1,100 metres altitude, along with some fruit from their 15 hectares at La Consulta in the Valle de Uco. The grapes are fermented at 28 degrees celsius for around 25 days. After malolactic fermentation takes place in tank, the lots go into barrel and blend as soon as possible, this is usually during early Winter so the wines thereon age for 15 to 18 months in French oak Barriques. Earlier incarnations saw as much as 100% new oak. However, Nicolas Audebert, who prior to Cheval des Andes worked at Krug, Veuve Clicquot, and Tenuta San Guido, reduced oak to the 35% new and 65% old seen with the 2015. Today the wine embodies the best of two worlds, Bordeaux and Mendoza, utilising Argentinian fruit, while embodying the French style.
Terrazas de los Andes was established in 1996, when Moet Hennessy bought and refurbished the winery, which was founded in 1898. It is sited at the eastern foothills of the Andes, ranging from 980 to 1,250 metres above sea level. The collaboration which occurred in 1999 with the famous Grand Cru Classe A St. Emilion powerhouse was the fusion of Cheval Blanc, with some of the best terroir in Mendoza. The wines today are finer than ever, the name Cheval des Andes has achieved its goal!
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