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The 2018 Cheval des Andes is a blend of 70% Malbec and 30% Cabernet Sauvignon fermented in small lots in 3,000- to 8,000-liter tanks and matured 40% in 225-liter oak barrels, 40% in 400-liter oak barrels and the remaining 20% in 2,500-liter oak vats for 13 months. Ninety percent of the oak used was French and the rest a blend of Austrian, Slovenian and German oak, 50% of it new. 2018 has been one of the best vintages in recent times in Mendoza, and the wine shows it. It’s a cooler vintage, and the wine has improved in freshness and elegance without losing any clout. It’s 14.5% alcohol and has a pH of 3.73. This is young, juicy, elegant and balanced and still has some herbal and toasted notes; it’s medium to full-bodied, with the creamy and luxurious texture of the modern Bordeaux, ultra fine tannins and a long, dry and precise finish. It’s still undeveloped and seems to have all the components and the balance between them for a long and positive development in bottle. With wines like this, I sometimes wish I had a time machine so I could see them in 20 years from now... I think this is the finest Cheval des Andes I’ve ever tasted. 100,000 bottles produced. It was bottled in January 2020.Robert Parker Wine Advocate | 98 RPThis is a plush, rich Cheval with blueberry and floral aromas and flavors. HInts of tar and fresh lavender. Full body. The depth and richness are impressive, as are the ripe yet fresh tannins. Very long and structured, yet controlled and in balance. This will be a great wine indeed. Release in September 2021. Drink after 2023.James Suckling | 98 JS(Cheval des Andes, Malbec, Mendoza, Argentina, Red) Partnering 70% Malbec and 30% Cabernet Sauvignon from Las Compuertas and Paraje Altamira, this has less tannin, density and acidity than the 2017 release, but retains perfume, polish and depth. Floral and refined, with subtle coffee-bean oak, sculpted tannins, plum, raspberry and blackcurrant fruit. Classy stuff. This confirms Cheval des Andes’ standing as one of South America’s greatest reds, showing that, as technical director Gérard Gabillet puts it, ’we understand our terroirs better and better every year’. (Drink between 2024-2032)Decanter | 97 DECThe 2018 Cheval Des Andes is a blend of 70% Malbec – half from Las Compuertas and half from Paraje Altamira – and 30% Cabernet Sauvignon from Las Compuertas. It was aged in barrels and foudres, 50% in new oak. Purplish red in the glass. It shows an expressively complex nose of plum, cherry and hints of spice, pepper, ink, blackberry, and blackcurrant. The oak provides a profound and subtle backdrop of sweet spice. In the mouth, it’s viscous and broad with a little juice, velvety in texture and with very fine tannins. The finish is long-lasting with a satisfying feel. A relaxed, delicate, extremely well-balanced wine with a more generous core than the 2017 vintage.Vinous Media | 96 VMContinuing the trend of more Malbec in the blend, the 2018 Cheval Des Andes is another remarkable wine based on 70% Malbec and 30% Cabernet Sauvignon that was fermented in tank and aged in 40% new Bordeaux barrels, with the balance in larger 400-liter barrels and one larger 2,500-liter oak vat. While the cooperage here is mostly French, they do include a touch of eastern European oak as well. Tasting like the 2016, only better, this beauty has gorgeous cassis, black cherry, and black raspberry fruit as well as plenty of ripe tobacco, green cedar, rosemary, damp earth, and spring flower-like aromas and flavors. As with the 2016, there’s an herbal, subtly green undercurrent here (although it’s more mitigated here), but this is just pure, focused, and impeccably balanced, with beautiful fruit, gorgeous tannins, and an undeniable salinity on the finish. A brilliant wine, it has another 10-15 years of prime drinking.Jeb Dunnuck | 95 JDBig and rich, with expressive beef and earthy notes to the dark plum and roasted dark cherry flavors, which are backed by firm tannins and acidity. Creamy in the midpalate, with hints of dried green herbs and dark chocolate on the finish. Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon. Drink now through 2026. 7,500 cases made, 2,500 cases imported. Wine Spectator | 92 WS
Cheval des Andes continues its steady ascent towards the summit of the very best and most sought-after New World reds. I tasted this wine over the space of a day and was very close to giving it 100 points. Made from an equal blend of Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon, it combines fruit from Las Compuertas and Paraje Altamira to brilliant effect. Aged in 50% new barrels and foudres,it’s effortlessly complex and detailed, with refined tannins,graphite and cut grass aromas, cassis and bramble flavours and remarkable palate length. Drink till 2040.Tim Atkin | 99 TAThe 2019 Cheval des Andes had a more reductive vinification and élevage, making the wine a bit shy and in need of time to open up, as one of their objectives was to make it more age-worthy. Another objective is to get to a 50/50 blend of Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon, which they achieved in this vintage for the first time, going back to the initial character of the wine that was the idea of Argentinean winemaker Roberto de la Mota; so, they are closing the circle and going back to the initial idea, with more implication from the Cheval Blanc team. This is the first vintage fully under the charge of the new French winemaker, Gerald Gabillet, who fermented by plot, isolating some specific parts of the vineyard, like the borders where you tend to get higher yields because of the irrigation. It matured in 225- and 400-liter oak barrels and in oak vats. They used more barrels and vats from Stockinger, which they like and rotate; the wine spends an average of 13 to 14 months in oak, but some lots get 11 months and others get 16. 2019 was a mild vintage, cooler than 2017 and warmer than 2018, with rain at the right time, which helped to avoid hydric stress, and without extremes (which they had in 2020 with three weeks of extreme heat). The wine is young and tender and a bit oaky, which Gerald attributed to the reductiveness; it’s ripe without excess, with around 14.2% alcohol, mellow acidity and velvety tannins. There’s more Cabernet here, so the aromatic expression can be something between 2017 and 2018, but Cabernet marks the palate a lot and makes the wine more age-worthy, as it provides the structure and length that the Malbec lacks. So, the wine might be less accessible when young and should develop slowly in bottle. It’s tasty and supple and has the ingredients and the balance for what they are aiming for. In the following vintages, they follow this path, and Gabillet feels that having more precision allows the wines to reflect the differences between vintages better. They keep producing around 100,000 bottles. It was bottled in late January 2021. The way they want to describe the wine is the Argentinean expression of Cheval Blanc. And I can only agree.Robert Parker Wine Advocate | 98 RPA refined but spicy Cheval, showing charcoal, blueberries, wild herbs, lavender and hints of bacon and cedar. Medium to full body with extremely fine tannins that get dialed into the fruit with violet, spices and sweet blue fruit at the end. Long and subtle. Drink or hold.James Suckling | 97 JSThe 2019 Cheval des Andes is a 50/50 blend of Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon from Las Compuertas and Paraje Altamira, Mendoza. The 2019 was 40% aged in 225-liter barrels, 40% in 500-liter barrels and 20% in foudres. It’s red with violet flecks in the glass. It has a fresh nose of plum and blackcurrant accompanied by hints of white pepper, mint and violets over a bed of cedar and sandalwood. On the palate, the feel is finely grained with a leaner, more agile flow than in previous years, while the freshness brings plenty of energy before the lengthy finish of fruit and country herb aromas.Vinous Media | 97 VMSmooth and so seductive, I love the texture here, supple but silky. Tannis give structure and support and the focus is on perfumed red and black fruits with a richness and concentration yet liveliness from sharp acidity. It doesn’t feel at all heavy but sintilates with fragrance and freshness. Easy to drink, lovely detail on show - blackcurrants, red cherries, violets with vanilla and liquorice hints. Very smooth and charming while still being a full wine. This has extreme delectability. Great winemaking on show. Drinking Window: 2025 - 2045Decanter | 96 DEC
This deep red wine with purplish highlights boasts attractive notes of strawberries and floral aromas like violets. It is a captivatingly sweet mouthfeel and a refreshing finish with dark chocolate notes at the end.Decanter | 96 DECA pleasant malbec with blackberries, stems and fresh flowers on the nose and palate. Medium body, light tannins and fruity finish. Not a big wine, but shows good intensity. Vegan. Drink now.James Suckling | 90 JS
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.Robert Parker Wine Advocate | 98 RPRipe, 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.James Suckling | 97 JSThe 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.Vinous Media | 96 VMThis almost half-half Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec with 2% Petit Verdot is rich and full in the mouth. Tannins are massy and filling, this has power and dominance with concentrated blackcurrant, plum and black cherry fruit. Highly spiced and sunkissed, this is intense and quite a force on the palate with liquorice, black pepper and tobacco tones and a flinty mineral aspect on the finish. The alcohol sticks out a touch, just lingering with heat at the end, but it has freshness and matches the altogether hefty frame and power from start to finish. Certainly a punchy and confident wine that’s out to shine. 3.83pH. Ageing 22 months, 40% in 225l Bordeaux barrels, 405 in 400l barrels, 20% in 2,500l foudres (50% new). Winemaker Gérald Gabillet.Decanter | 95 DEC
Plum, blueberry and wet-stone aromas. Full-bodied with soft tannins. Juicy and fruity on the palate with a flavorful finish. Drink now.James Suckling | 91 JSThe floral 2020 Paulucci Malbec matured for 12 months before being bottled. It shows the textbook Malbec notes of red and black berries and violets. The palate is juicy, with fleshy fruit and fine tannins.Robert Parker Wine Advocate | 90 RPThe 2020 Malbec Paulucci comes from Ugarteche, Luján de Cuyo and was half aged in 15% new barrels. It presents clear notes of ripe plum with hints of spice and an oaky framework. The 2020 is terse and smooth in the mouth with an expansive flow that contains a few, young characterful tannins. Delivers long-lasting flavor for the price.Vinous Media | 90 VM
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