2016 Cheval des Andes Proprietary Red Blend

Year: 2016
Appellation: Mendoza
Country: Argentina
Wine Advocate: 97+
Vinous Media: 95
James Suckling: 99
Red Wine
Alcohol by Volume: 13.9%

Pre-Order
DUE IN: DECEMBER 2019

Price :
$69.95

"The new vintage to be released in September 2019 is the 2016 Cheval des Andes, which was cropped from a completely unusual year—cooler than the average and with an exceptional amount of rain (around 600 liters), yet the wine has achieved exceptional freshness. It's 13.9% alcohol, and there's more red fruit on the nose, which is subtle and elegant, a little closed at first, shy and subtle. They have done great adjustments in the élevage, with the wine matured in 30% to 40% 400-liter barrels and only some 40% new wood. It's 58% Malbec (approximately 50/50 from Luján and Valle de Uco, where they have 15 hectares in Altamira), 37% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Petit Verdot. This has less structure than the 2015, but there's more tension; this is a wine that should develop beautifully in bottle. This is a vintage of precision and with great aging potential. I think this wine is the most elegant produced so far. Bravo! 64,000 bottles produced.

There is a big change at Cheval des Andes after the 2011 harvest, and the wines have gradually changed style, going more or less in the direction of a 50/50 blend of Malbec and Cabernet Franc and increasing the amount of grapes from their own vineyards. From 2016 onward, it's 100% grapes from their own vineyards in Luján de Cuyo (Las Compuertas) and in the Valle de Uco (Altamira). I tasted all the wines from 2012 to 2016 to see the evolution at this winery, including: more own grapes; simplification of the blend toward the Malbec/Cabernet idea; great changes in viticulture, especially the irrigation; moving toward organic farming (they have already stopped using herbicides); earlier harvest through a good ripeness early on; less extraction and a soft vinification; and better integration of the oak in the wine by using larger barrels (30% to 40% 400-liter barrels in 2016, with only some 40% new wood, and also large foudres starting in 2017) and trying to select better wood for their barrels." (WA)

"Bright, dark red-ruby. Wild, musky scents and flavors of black raspberry, black pepper, olive tapenade, licorice and rocky salinity. Plush, savory and seamless; a mouthcoating Malbec-based blend with superb depth and palate presence. As concentrated as this wine is, it's medium-bodied in the style of this cooler year but also remarkably nuanced and harmonious from the start, communicating an impression of restrained sweetness. Finishes extremely long and edge-free, with noble tannins and palate-saturating breadth. Incidentally, with this 2016, Cheval des Andes is now made entirely with estate fruit, from their properties in La Compuertas and Altamira. (aged in 70% new oak)" (VM)

"Super refined and beautiful with flowers, spices, dried fruit and hints of stones. Medium to full body with very fine tannins and a gorgeous finish. Shows great finesse and depth. Savory character, as always, but in check. Drink in 2022." (JS)