Cheval Des Andes 2004
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Cheval Des Andes 2004 has a profound core of black-crimson, framed by inviting traces of bright violet. It opens with aromas of fresh red and black berry fruit, complemented by subtle hints of moist earth and slate. Residual aromas of truffles, spices and walnuts dominate the glass after swirling. It envelops the senses with elegant, warm bramble and forest berry fruit. A complex mid-palate with a medium structure; densely packed fruit preserve and floral notes evolve into a long finish with lingering reminders of Andes minerality, mushrooms and wood spices.
Grape Variety: Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot
Bottle Size: 75cl
Closure: Natural cork
Style: Gironde meets Andes
Drink With: Côte de boeuf rôtie
Cheval des Andes came into being as Pierre Lurton sought out a special international terroir in which to apply the storied blending heritage of the French château. Lurton was intrigued by the notion of unearthing a connection with the Saint-Émilion past. Malbec, all but destroyed by phylloxera in the 1860s from its position as the one of the most important varieties in Saint-Émilion and Pomerol, had since been reincarnated in ungrafted form in Argentina and where it had been producing some of the world's best examples in recent years.
Cheval Blanc's reconnection with its past was consummated in 1999 as Pierre Lurton visited a select parcel of the most treasured high elevation terroir in Argentina: Terrazas De Los Andes' 76-year-old Las Compuertas vineyard in Vistalba, Mendoza. The initial Cheval Des Andes vintages of 2001 and 2002, according to Pierre Lurton, have proven to "fit into the spirit of Cheval Blanc," refined and elegant in its Bordeaux style, while displaying the characteristic fruit intensity of its Argentine roots.
The 2004 harvest featured the driest spring in five years. Budbreak was normal with good healthy shoots and no frost damage. The dry weather remained as summer started, resulting in beautiful fruit development with good-sized clusters. In December, intense showers cooled down an already mild summer. On the other hand, it was a superb year for Malbec, which demonstrated even better intensity and concentration than in the already great 2003. 2004 was the first vintage in which there was more Malbec than Cabernet Sauvignon in the blend. New oak is utilised for the Cabernet Sauvignon, whereas the Malbec rests in second fill oak barrels.
From Jay Miller writing on Robert Parker's Wine Advocate:
The 2004 Cheval Des Andes is composed of 55% Malbec, 43% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 2% Petit Verdot. Purple coloured, it offers a complex bouquet of pain grillé, violets, black cherry, and blackcurrant. This is followed by a medium to full-bodied, elegant wine with a smooth texture, intense flavours, and outstanding length. There is enough hidden tannin to support 8-10 years of further evolution in the bottle and it should continue to drink well through 2030. 93 Points
From Wine Enthusiast Magazine:
Cheval Des Andes brings together Cheval Blanc from Saint-Emilion with Terrazas De Los Andes, and for the past few years it has been the leader in Bordeaux-style wines from Argentina. The 2004 shows serious barrel notes framing classic aromas of aged gouda, saddle leather, mushroom and concentrated berries. The palate is structured, mildly tannic and layered with blackberry, cassis, raisin and liquorice flavours. 92 Points