Recently, a small part of your ABC wine team had the chance to sit down with Baptiste Cuvelier, President of Cuvelier Los Andes in Argentina, to discuss, taste and enjoy his exceptional and highly rated wines.
The Cuvelier family began as wine merchants in France in the early 19th century and eventually acquired several estates in Bordeaux. Today they own the famed Château Léoville-Poyferré, the 2nd Classified Growth estate in Saint-Julien, as well as Château Moulin-Riche and Château Le Crock in Saint-Julien and Saint-Estèphe respectively. Now the Cuvelier family also own estates in Argentina and Chile, where they bring their Bordeaux roots to create high quality wines in the New World. “Our ambition,” Baptiste says, “is to create outstanding blends based on Malbec, the king varietal in Argentina.”
The winery is located in the Uco Valley, near the town of Vista Flores, 55 miles south of Mendoza and at the foot of the Andes mountains. Here they own about 160 acres (very similar in size to Léoville-Poyferré) on which are planted Malbec (60% of total vines), Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah and Petit Verdot.
The land is rocky and alluvial with soils of sand and clay and large quantities of pebbles. Mendoza is a desert, so drip irrigation is relied upon. It is only the high elevation, in this case 3,281 feet above sea level, which allows the coolness needed to produce such beautifully balanced wines.
All of the vines are biodynamically farmed which of course includes being organic, and the wines are aged in French oak barrels, a large number of which are renewed every year.
Your ABC store currently carries two wines from Cuvelier Los Andes:
The Cuvelier Los Andes Colección ($19.99) is a blend of about 60% Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, Syrah and Merlot and is aged in French oak barrels for 12 months. Of this vintage Luis Gutierrez in Wine Advocate writes: “For a cool vintage with plenty of challenges, the wine reached 15% alcohol, so don’t expect any green aromas or diluted flavors here. The nose is a powerful combination of dark plums, espresso coffee, Belgian chocolate and shy hints of red cherries with a full-bodied palate and abundant, fine-grained tannins, moderate acidity and good length, no doubt lifted by the alcohol.” He awarded the wine 91 points, as did Stephen Tanzer.
The Cuvelier Los Andes Grand Malbec ($58.99) is a special edition, with only a few thousand bottles produced each year from the very best Malbec plots on the estate. The wine is 100% Malbec and is barrel-fermented and aged in 100% new French oak for 18 months. Very dark in color, it is dense, powerful yet beautifully balanced and has an endless finish. Wine Spectator scored this vintage at 93 points.
ABC Fine Wine & Spirits is very pleased to offer these wines in our stores. Pick up a bottle or two soon!
Bill Stobbs, ABC Wine & Spirits Sales Manager
Follow me on Twitter @abcwinebills