Red ruby color with violet highlights. The nose is complex and elegant. It shows notes of tobacco and white pepper followed by some notes of ripe yellow fruits such as apricot, peach, black fig and quince jam. On the palate, the first impression is driven by mentholated hints. A very balanced character between acidity and the dense silkiness of the tannins impacts on the elegant finish of this Grand Cru.
97 Points James Suckling - "One of the most complex and floral Chevals. Full to medium body, ultra-fine. How I tasted."
95 Points Robert Parker's, The Wine Advocate - 2012 was a warmer vintage but they harvested earlier to preserve freshness. The 2012 Cheval des Andes has more floral notes (that they attribute to the early picking) violets and lilies. While the blackberries and blackcurrants are there, they do not overpower the nose. In this vintage the final blend (which changes every year, they have no rules) was 64% Malbec, 28% Cabernet Sauvignon (a higher percentage to provide freshness in this warmer vintage) and then 8% Petit Verdot. This is a hedonistic Cheval showing the character of the vintage but with better balance and more integrated oak than in the earlier releases. They reduced the percentage of new oak to 30% and also started experimenting with some 500-liter barrels that were widely used in 2014, and the aging was longer at 14 months. The palate is powerful, and to drink at around 15 C. It gets more depth and nuanced with time in the glass. Even if young, this is polished and can be drunk starting now.
93 points Vinous (a joint venture between Cheval Blanc and Terrazas de los Andes): Bright ruby-red. Highly complex nose and palate meld currant, plum, licorice, mocha, tobacco, wild herbs and a sexy floral element. Utterly suave and seamless blend in the style of a ripe Right Bank wine, with saline soil tones leavening the wine's sweetness of fruit. One senses the 15% alcohol on the finish of this very long, firmly tannic, classically dry wine, which needs a couple more years in the bottle to come into full focus. My sample improved dramatically over 24 hours in the recorked bottle, showing purer fruit character without any loss of energy.
93 points Wine Enthusiast - Dark, lightly toasted aromas of licorice root, coconut, blackberry and peppery spice are inviting. This blend of Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot is lush, ripe and loaded. Toasty, blackened berry and cassis flavors finish with woody spice, length and complexity. Drink now through 2021.
92 Points Wine Spectator - A dense, rich and ripe red, with well-structured flavors of dark cherry, plum and chocolate. The creamy finish is filled with Asian spice and minerally notes, revealing lingering blackberry accents. Drink now through 2020.