Cheval des Andes

Cheval des Andes, 2013

  • icon-type Type

    Red

  • icon-year Year

    2013

  • icon-style Style

    Dry

  • icon-country Country

    Argentina

  • icon-alcohollevel Alcohol level

    15%

  • icon-grapevariety Grape variety
    Malbec 67%, Cabernet Sauvignon 25%, Petit Verdot 8%

The 2013 harvest was one of the most important in recent decades in terms of quantity and quality, with only one climatic risk factor. As the season was characterised by a number of hot days with temperatures over 30°C, the challenge was to avoid over-ripeness, which results in excessive concentration in the grapes. In order to maintain the natural balance and freshness typical of Cheval des Andes, the decision of when to harvest was key.

This wine achieves an aromatic balance between red fruits and spices. Intense red colour with purple shades. Subtle, whispered and precise, while also wide and enveloping, this wine reveals delicate, fresh aromas such as violet and pepper in harmony with warmer notes like raspberry and dark berries. An elegant expression of Cheval des Andes, it is full-bodied with fine tannins that converge into a tense finish with marked by freshness.

About 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.

Grape variety
Cabernet Sauvignon

Cabernet Sauvignon is one of the world's most widely recognised red wine grape varieties. It is grown in nearly every major wine producing country among a diverse spectrum of climates from Canada's Okanagan Valley to Lebanon's Beqaa Valley. Cabernet Sauvignon became internationally recognised through its prominence in Bordeaux wines where it is often blended with Merlot and Cabernet Franc. From France and Spain, the grape spread across Europe and to the New World where it found new homes in places like California's Santa Cruz Mountains, Paso Robles, Napa Valley, New Zealand's Hawkes Bay, South Africa's Stellenbosch region, Australia's Margaret River and Coonawarra regions, and Chile's Maipo Valley and Colchagua. For most of the 20th century, it was the world's most widely planted premium red wine grape until it was surpassed by Merlot in the 1990. However, by 2015, Cabernet Sauvignon had once again become the most widely planted wine grape.

Despite its prominence in the industry, the grape is a relatively new variety, the product of a chance crossing between Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc during the 17th century in southwestern France. Its popularity is often attributed to its ease of cultivation - the grapes have thick skins and the vines a re hardy and naturally low yielding, budding late to avoid frost and resistant to viticultural hazards such as rot and insects - and to its consistent presentation of structure and flavours which express the typical character ("typicity") of the variety. Familiarity and ease of pronunciation have helped to sell Cabernet Sauvignon wines to consumers, even when from unfamiliar wine regions.

The classic profile of Cabernet Sauvignon tends to be full-bodied wines with high tannins and noticeable acidity that contributes to the wine's aging potential. In cooler climates, Cabernet Sauvignon tends to produce wines with blackcurrant notes that can be accompanied by green bell pepper notes, mint and cedar which will all become more pronounced as the wine ages. In more moderate climates the blackcurrant notes are often seen with black cherry and black olive notes while in very hot climates the currant flavours can veer towards the over-ripe and "jammy" side. In parts of Australia, particularly the Coonawarra wine region of South Australia, Cabernet Sauvignon wines tend to have a characteristic eucalyptus or menthol notes.

The style of Cabernet Sauvignon is strongly influenced by the ripeness of the grapes at harvest. When more on the unripe side, the grapes are high in pyrazines and will exhibit pronounced green bell peppers and vegetal flavours. When harvested overripe the wines can taste jammy and may have aromas of stewed blackcurrants. Some winemakers choose to harvest their grapes at different ripeness levels in order to incorporate these different elements and potentially add some layer of complexity to the wine. When Cabernet Sauvignon is young, the wines typically exhibit strong fruit flavours of black cherries and plum. The aroma of blackcurrants is one of the most distinctive and characteristic element of Cabernet Sauvignon that is present in virtually every style of the wine across the globe. Styles from various regions and producers may also have aromas of eucalyptus, mint and tobacco. As the wines age they can sometimes develop aromas associated with cedar, cigar boxes and pencil shavings. In general New World examples have more pronounced fruity notes while Old World wines can be more austere with heightened earthy notes.

Alternative Names: Bidure, Bouche, Bordo, Bouchet, Burdeos Tinto, Lafite, Vidure

Malbec

Malbec is a purple grape variety used in making red wine. The grapes tend to have an inky dark colour and robust tannins, and are known as one of the six grapes allowed in the blend of red Bordeaux wine. In France, plantations of Malbec are now found primarily in Cahors in South West France, though the grape is grown worldwide. It is increasingly celebrated as an Argentine varietal.

The grape became less popular in Bordeaux after 1956 when frost killed off 75% of the crop. Despite Cahors being hit by the same frost, which devastated the vineyards, Malbec was replanted and continued to be popular in that area. Winemakers in the region frequently mixed Malbec with Merlot and Tannat to make dark, full-bodied wines, but have ventured into 100% Malbec varietal wines more recently.

A popular but unconfirmed theory claims that Malbec is named after a Hungarian peasant who first spread the grape variety throughout France. French ampelographer and viticulturalist Pierre Galet notes, however, that most evidence suggests that Côt was the variety's original name and that it probably originated in northern Burgundy. Due to similarities in synonyms, Malbec is often confused with other varieties of grape. Malbec argenté is not Malbec, but rather a variety of the southwestern French grape Abouriou. In Cahors, the Malbec grape is referred to as Auxerrois or Côt Noir; this is sometimes confused with Auxerrois Blanc, which is an entirely different variety.

The Malbec grape is a thick-skinned grape and needs more sun and heat than either Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot to mature. It ripens mid-season and can bring very deep colour, ample tannin, and a particular plum-like flavour component which adds complexity to claret blends. Sometimes, especially in its traditional growing regions, it is not trellised but is instead cultivated as bush vines (the goblet system). In such cases, it is sometimes kept to a relatively low yield of about 6 tons per hectare. Wines produced using this growing method are rich, dark, and juicy.

As a varietal, Malbec creates a rather inky red (or violet), intense wine, so it is also commonly used in blends, such as with Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon to create the red French Bordeaux claret blend. The grape is blended with Cabernet Franc and Gamay in some regions such as the Loire Valley. Other wine regions use the grape to produce Bordeaux-style blends. The varietal is sensitive to frost and has a propensity for shattering or coulure.

Wine expert Jancis Robinson describes the French style of Malbec common in the Libournais (Bordeaux region) as a "rustic" version of Merlot, softer in tannins and lower in acidity with blackberry fruit in its youth. The Malbec of the Cahors region is much more tannic with more phenolic compounds that contribute to its dark colour. Oz Clarke describes Cahors' Malbec as dark purple in colour with aromas of damsons, tobacco, garlic, and raisin. In Argentina, Malbec becomes softer with a plusher texture and riper tannins. The wines tend to have juicy fruit notes with violet aromas. In very warm regions of Argentina and Australia, the acidity of the wine may be too low which can cause a wine to taste flabby and weak. Malbec grown in Washington state tends to be characterized by dark fruit notes and herbal aromas.

Alternative Names: Cot, Cahors, Auxerrois, Malbeck

Petit Verdot

Petit Verdot is a variety of red wine grape, principally used in classic Bordeaux blends. It ripens much later than the other varieties in Bordeaux, often too late, so it fell out of favour in its home region. When it does ripen it adds tannin, colour and flavour, in small amounts, to the blend. Petit Verdot has attracted attention among winemakers in the New World, where it ripens more reliably and has been made into single varietal wine. It is also useful in 'stiffening' the mid palate of Cabernet Sauvignon blends.

When young its aromas have been likened to banana and pencil shavings. Strong tones of violet and leather develop as it matures.

Alternative Names: Verdot, Petit Verdau

About Lujan de Cuyo

Luján de Cuyo is a wine-producing sub-region of Argentina's largest viticultural area, Mendoza. Unsurprisingly, Malbec is the region's most-important grape variety, producing bold, intensely flavoured red wines. Excellent wines are also produced here from Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay and Torrontés.

Located in a valley just south of Mendoza City itself, the Luján de Cuyo region is home to some of the most famous names in Argentinean wine. These include Catena Zapata, Bodega Septima and Cheval des Andes.

The small town of Luján de Cuyo is on the northern banks of the Mendoza River. From here the viticultural area of the same name stretches south for roughly 30 kilometres (20 miles) between the Andes Mountains in the west and the Lunlunta hills in the east.

The region was the first in Argentina to be officially recognized as an appellation in 1993, and includes the wine-producing zones of Vistalba, Las Compuertas, Perdriel, Agrelo and Ugarteche. Maipu lies directly east of Luján de Cuyo and the Uco Valley is to the south.

The region's position on the edge of the imposing Andes mountain chain has an enormous effect on the terroir. The hot, dry climate is moderated by the high altitude of the region, averaging about 1000m (3300ft) above sea level.

At this altitude, the vineyards are subject to more-intense solar radiation during the day than lower-lying areas. This is balanced by evening temperatures that are considerably lower, cooled by alpine winds from the Andes. This diurnal temperature variation slows ripening overnight, and extends the growing season. The grapes develop full phenolic ripeness without losing their acidity.

Luján de Cuyo is in the rain shadow of the Andes and thus experiences a dry, almost desert-like climate. The Mendoza River makes viticulture possible here: the pure Andean meltwater that it brings to the valley provides an abundant source of water for irrigation.

Flood irrigation is the traditional method in Luján de Cuyo. However more and more vignerons are turning to drip irrigation for greater control over the growth of the vines.

The soils are also heavily influenced by the proximity of the Andes Mountains. Alluvial soils have been deposited in the area by rivers over thousands of years.

These rocky, sandy soils have little organic matter due to their origin high in the mountains, and their low fertility makes them perfect for viticulture because it stresses the vines. Stressed vines will produce less vegetation and smaller berries, which develop more concentrated flavours.

Regular price $603.00

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This is a wine from our Overseas - In Bond Collection. The wine is quoted as a price in S$ for purchase and transfer into a UK bonded warehouse. The purchase price is a duty/tax free price and does not include delivery to Singapore. Please contact us below if you wish to enquire delivery or storage options for a wine from our Overseas - In Bond Collection to Singapore or elsewhere.

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