Cheval des Andes
Cheval des Andes is one of Argentina's most famous wines. It is made from vineyards in Mendoza and is a joint venture between Saint-Emilion's Château Cheval Blanc, the legendary Premier Grand Cru Classé A, and Argentina's Terrazas de los Andes.
The Bordeaux blend wine is made with grapes from vines as much as 80 years old, planted in the Las Compuertas vineyard in Luján de Cuyo. The high-altitude vineyard, located in the foothills of the Andes, covers 50 hectares (124 acres), and is planted to Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, and Merlot. The sandy loam soils provide good drainage, causing root systems to dig deep into the ground in search of hydration, making for healthy vines and concentrated grapes. The diurnal temperature variation at the estate, with warm days and cool nights, allows grapes to ripen while retaining acidity. Water for irrigation is provided naturally from Andes snowmelt.
The composition of Cheval des Andes varies from vintage to vintage, although the blend is most commonly dominated by Malbec or Cabernet Sauvignon. The grapes are hand-harvested and fermented by variety, and aged for six months in barrel. After blending, the wine is aged for a further year in up to 60 percent new French oak. The final assemblage is aged in new French oak for an additional six months, then bottled unfiltered and aged at least 18 months before release.