We are delighted to release one of Argentina’s finest, the utterly stunning Cheval des Andes 2016. The 2016 is the finest ever, awarded 97+ points from Luis Gutiérrez of The Wine Advocate its highest score ever. It has also received 99 points from James Suckling, his highest ever. Its finest ever vintage coincides with it being distributed on the Place du Bordeaux for the first time. Last years release price of £275 per case of six and has risen 15% since, demonstrating its strong and immediate secondary market trading. Today’s release price of £324 per case of six, is likely to follow this trend and is worth securing on release. We think this represents brilliant value for a world-beating wine, which in 2016 produced less than 5,500 cases.
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 2016’s combination of a high score and excellent price give it a superb Price Over Points ratio (POP) of 37, once again, highlighting the superb value here. The average case price of Cheval des Andes over the last 6 years is £390, as such today’s release promises to benefit from secondary market trading and is therefore an excellent entry point. However, at £54 a bottle for a world-class wine, this is one to age and pour!
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The 2016 is a blend of 58% Malbec 50% from Luján and 50% Valle de Uco, 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 remainder is made from 37% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Petit Verdot. 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 the oak to 40% new and 60% old. 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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