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Terrazas Cheval des Andes 2017 (1.5L)

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60 days
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60 days

Critic Scores, Reviews & Descriptions

100 JS / 97+ WA / 95 DE / 17.5+ JR

#2 James Suckling's Top 100 Wines of Argentina 2020
#9 James Suckling's Top 100 Wines of 2020

This is the greatest Cheval des Andes ever. The integration of fruit, tannins and acidity is fantastic. Full-bodied, tight and solid with beautiful depth and integrity. Extremely long and exciting. Complex and compelling. Available in September 2020. Better after 2024. - James Suckling

In the last few years, a handful of wines from Chile and Argentina—often French owned—have been released in September through the Place de Bordeaux, the network of négociants that sell most of the Bordeaux wines and some of the leading wines from other regions. The 2017 Cheval des Andes is one such wine. 2017 saw an early harvest, but they started picking on the 6th of March and continued until the 10th of April, more or less normal dates, early but not so much. The varietal break down this vintage comes to 62% Malbec and 38% Cabernet Sauvignon, and the wine is slightly riper and higher in alcohol than 2016 (this 2017 is 14.2% alcohol). The different plots fermented separately with selected yeasts, and the élevage lasted for 15 months and was in 50/50 new and second use barrels, 90% of them French and the rest made with wood from Eastern Europe. They used 45% Bordeaux barrels, 45% 400-liter barrels and, for the first time, a 2,500-liter oak foudre. This is clearly the darkest of the trio of vintages I tasted together here—2015, 2016 and 2017—but all three have the elegant and powerful profile, the luxurious and creamy character found in the best Bordeaux wines in the last few years, wines of power with precision, concentration, energy and finesse. This seems to combine the clout of the 2015 and the freshness of the 2016 and feels something in between those two vintages. Their work in the vineyard toward the maturity of the tannins meant the challenge in 2017 was to not let the grapes ripen too fast and too early. The work is different for Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec, to get round tannins in Cabernet and get some tension in Malbec, the contrary of the normal tendency of the varieties. 2017 has less ripeness than the 2015 but more density than the 2016. The texture is velvety, precise and harmonious. This year, they introduced a larger foudre for 10% of the wine, with the aim to reach 20%, so that volume is increasing every year. I think this is showing more precision, and in a more challenging year, they managed to keep the quality on par with 2016. They have changed the label this year, to a cleaner and more elegant label that also reflects the direction the wine is going in. 81,500 bottles produced. It was bottled in January 2019. - Luis Gutiérrez, Wine Advocate

This is an excellent wine - juicy, with tension and depth, and a confident sense of style and character. Vibrant violet edging, redcurrant and raspberry fruits with tight tannins and a chewy finish. One of the top wines from South America and a great shot of confidence for 'the place' to have it arrive last year where it is now sold 100% after being withdrawn from the LVMH distribution network. Second-to-last vintage with Lorenzo Pasquini before he headed over to Giscours (and Caiarossa), with the 2019 onwards under the care of Gérald Gabillet, formerly with Château Angélus and so maintaining the Bordeaux link. - Jane Anson, Decanter

62% Malbec and 38% Cabernet Sauvignon. A vintage of extreme temperatures, with a cold spring bringing frost followed by a summer that recorded 39 °C in the vineyard on 27 January – with temperatures still 27.8 °C at midnight. This is the highest night-time temperature recorded here in 100 years. Thankfully, temperatures cooled and harvest could take place slowly as the fruit ripened.
Deep ruby-purple in the glass. Intense and expansive black fruit and spices on the nose, with a hint of black olive and violet. The palate follows, with blueberry, violet and dried herbs. The fruit is sweet but not aggressive, framed by mouth-coating but supremely refined tannins. Focused and elegant as the structure and acidity build through the mid palate, this has impressive restraint. I expect this to become even more impressive after 5 years in bottle, though you could drink it sooner. (TP)

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