2016 Terrazas de Los Andes Cheval des Andes$74.99
I just got done doing a vertical tasting with the wine director of Chateau des Andes and was super impressed with 2016. Gerald Gabillet, the ex-viniculture director of Chateau Angelus, has been the estate manager at Cheval des Andes for a couple of years now and conducted the tasting. In the early days of this project, the team from Cheval Blanc just made the wine but did not control the vineyard. They also bought some purchased grapes that went into this wine before the 2016 vintage. They are now only using 100% estate fruit, the vines are now being converted to organic farming, and yields have been cut in half. The wines see a long cold fermentation using only native yeasts and about 40% new oak in several different sized barrels, including several 400 liters. The wine comes in at 13.9% alcohol, which is low for wines from Argentina and is bottled unfined and unfiltered. The 2016 vintage was an El Nino vintage in Argentina, and the Cheval Blanc crew, now working the vineyards, knew how to deal with wet weather. It’s done by canopy management, green harvest, and working the vineyards with natural agents to prevent disease. The result is that 2016 is extraordinary. Its comprised of 58% Malbec, 37% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 5% Petit Verdot. The wine has impressive elegance, balance, complexity, and refinement like a great Cheval Blanc. It’s the best wine I have ever tasted from South America, where the wines can be significant and clucky. Simply put, a brilliant bottle that will be approachable young yet should age for two decades or more. This wine must be tried to be genuinely appreciated!