Château Cheval Blanc
Address: 33330 St Emilion
Telephone: + 33 (0)5 57 55 55 55
Fabulous wine and a legendary reputation, Château Cheval Blanc is a complex St Emilion which has the ability to age wonderfully. The vineyards border the Pomerol appellation and the wine is marked by extraordinary balance which brings to mind, though in a different style, Château Margaux on the left bank. Cheval Blanc is also famous for the high percentage of Cabernet Franc typically used in the blend. Owned by Bernard Arnault and Baron Albert Frere since 1998 and run by Pierre Lurton, the estate was classified in 1950s, along with Château Ausone, as the only two wines originally in the category ‘A’ St Emilion Premier Grand Cru classification. They have since been joined by Château Angélus and Château Pavie. The second wine here is Petit Cheval.
Vineyard/Terroir: 40 hectares planted with 58% Cabernet Franc and 42% Merlot on clay and gravel. Average age of vines is 40 years. Yields of 35-40 hl/ha.
Winemaking/Elévage: Temperature controlled fermentation followed by oak ageing.
- 2015 Deep at centre; healthy looking; beautiful aromatics; lovely Cab aromatics; very pretty; spices; some menthol tones; very nicely made; attractive modesty and elegance; has real ethereal quality, but there is also depth; lovely balance; nice delicacy; freshness; some grip and mineral tones on the finish. Mineral finish and very long. Expect this to fill out further during elévage. [55% Merlot, 45% Cabernet Franc, 14% alc, 100% new oak]. Drink 2022-2040. 96-98+
- 2014 Deep and healthy colour; dark at the core; fresh looking at edge; purple; deep aromatics; blackcurrants and black cherry; elegant and sophisticated; structured palate; complexity; lots of blackcurrant fruit; depth; cool fruit characters no jam; nicely proportional and very good length on the end; matter and extract here but polished and balanced. Will be excellent. [55% Merlot, 45% Cabernet Franc, 13.1% alc, 75% of harvest, 100% new oak]. Drink 2022-2032. 94-96+
- 2013 Mid depth; elegant colour; vibrant at edge; perfumed aromatics with some delicacy; spices; nice entry on the palate; elegant with fine structure. Spices and attractive fruit flavours. Very measured and not at all forced. Delicate style that will doubtless fill out during elevage. [53% Cabernet Franc, 47% Merlot, 18hl/ha]. Drink 2018-2034. Tasted 2/4/14 at Cheval Blanc. 90-92
- 2012 Deep and dense; vibrant at the edge; healthy looking; nice delicacy to the nose; not a blockbuster, feels intellectual and mannered; elegant and well balanced palate, very fine with good purity; pretty structured and still quite tight; fine tannin and very much in the manner of near-neighbour Figeac. Quite tight on the finish. Very precise, linear and polished. Expect this to fill out. 54% Merlot and 46% Cabernet Franc. 93-95+
- 2011 Deep colour; tight to edge; substantial seam of fruit; layered and composed; pretty cool; spicy and blackcurrant tones; feels fresh here which is nice; lots of density on the palate; compact and layered; lots of chew on the finish but tannins very nicely done. This is very good indeed. 52% Cabernet Franc, 48% Merlot. Tasted 4/1/12 at Cheval Blanc. 94-96+
- 2010 Mid depth; dusty; bit dumb; wet rocks; some spices; firmly shut this; elegant palate; has appetizing edge; apparent depth and fresh acidity but feels closed; firm and rather tight – a very shut down Cheval Blanc at present. Like to see this again down the track. Was compelling during primeurs. Drink 2020-2035. 93+ MW Institute Nov ’14 [Earlier note] Deep and dense; tight to the rim; legs; quite dense nose; some smoke; depth and intensity here; fine fruit, flowers; palate ripe and seductive; real velvety feel here; very well managed extraction; lots of flesh and fruit but wonderfully seductive palate; quite a lot of tannin at the back but very ripe; lots of material and fruit. This looks wonderfully concentrated and with real grip and density. This wine is approaching perfection and extremely exciting. The question for me was more how the tannins eventually settle. [56% Cabernet Franc, 44% Merlot, Alc: 14.5] 98+/100 4 April 2011
- 2009 Mid depth, dark at core; very attractive nose – real fine Bordeaux here – enticing aromatics – blackcurrants, undergrowth, leaf and floral tones; perfect Cab Franc with its delicate, leafy and harmonious tones along with roses, floral tones and plummy spice from the Merlot; spicy and layered on the palate with blackcurrants and really fine Cabernet tones; lots of depth and nice grip to this wine which has wonderful tension which makes it more-ish Bordeaux. Extremely harmonious. Perfect surely? Drink now – 2040. 100 MW Institute Nov ’13.
- 2008 Mid depth; some lift on the nose; chalk, minerality; chewy spicy palate; good depth and fruit – all nicely done but lacks the apparent flair of the other first growths for me. 92+ MW Institute Nov ’12.
- 2006 Mid depth, not quite as deep as the other first growths; some lift on the nose, stones, minerals and plums but not as impressive or seemingly quite in the same league; palate feels big and extracted and pretty chewy with tannins to match. Certainly dense and with body and structure but less polish, complexity and finesse than the right bank first growths for the money. May settle in time. Feel Canon, Figeac and Canon La Gaffeliere are competing well with this great estate in 2006. Again time will doubtless tell. 92+/100 MW Institute Nov ‘10
- 1994 Mid red, good depth; wonderful nose – penetrating roses, spice, tobacco, cedar – really haunting. Palate a little less expressive but still good. Slightly lacking in concentration [rain affected the 94s] but still good. 90/100 Nov ‘07
- 1988 Dark, red at edge; some toffee; a little closed; bad bottle? NR May ‘08
- 1985 Deep black/red; wonderfully floral nose of roses, black fruits; later savoury and tobacco notes, very elegant but wonderfully intense. Great length and clarity. Drunk when far too young but a great joy. 94/100 Oct ‘91
- 1978 Mid red/ brown at edge; intense tobacco and leaf on the nose [the Cab Franc]; well structured wine; quite elegant palate and a little short at end. 90+/100 April ‘96
- 2014 Mid depth; vibrant edge; little more meaty; some blackcurrant spices; elegance; more substantial palate; has flesh and will flesh out; structured and quite cool in feel; textured palate. Nice length and good grip. [52% Merlot, 48% Cabernet Franc, 12.8% alc, 25% of harvest, 60% new oak]. Tasted 1 April 2015 at Cheval Blanc. Drink 2020-2025. 89-91
- 2013 Mid depth; quite light at the centre; spicy and pretty aromatics; elegance; some perfume; elegant palate, some spicy plum characters. Nice balance. Appetizing if lacking density. [79% Merlot, 21% Cabernet Franc]. Tasted Cheval Blanc 2/4/14. Drink 2018-2024. 85-87
- 2012 Mid depth; healthy looking; nice delicacy on the nose; Cabernet Franc very evident; clean and elegant on the palate; good purity and nicely linear and no hard edges to the tannins; very fine; elegant and structured. Fresh finish. Not pushed at all, and will fill out. 75% Cabernet Franc, 25% Merlot. 90-92
- 2011 Mid depth; perfumed and pretty; red fruits but not jammy; some black cherry, spice; quite pretty; nice density on the palate; minerality and focus; precision; some spicy characters. Chew and density on the finish. Good effort. 75% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Franc. Tasted 4/4/12 at Cheval Blanc. 90-91+
- 2010 Very saturated black, to the rim; very pretty, plump and sweet; quite seductive and very attractive; good intensity; supple wine; full of flavour and extract; lots of concentration; very supple; tannin very well managed. Fills the mouth with flavour. Good length. Lots of extract and tannin. Freshness too. [75% Melot, 25% Cabernet Franc Alc: 14.5%] 93-95/100 4 April 2011