Cheval Blanc 1998

RegionBordeaux
SubregionSt Emilion
ColourRed
TypeStill

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Tasting Notes

Score: 19Farr Vintners, June 1999

Score: 96+Robert Parker, Bordeaux Book (4), December 2003

Score: 95Robert Parker, eRobertParker.com (Dec 2001), December 2001

I seriously underestimated this wine, as I have often tended to do with Cheval Blanc. A potentially immortal example that has gained significant weight since it has been bottled, this blend of 55% Cabernet Franc and 45% Merlot has a saturated purple color and a glorious nose of menthol, plums, mulberries, new saddle leather, cocoa, and vanilla. Remarkably fuller bodied than I ever remembered it young, with an amazingly seamless texture and tremendous concentration and extract, this full-bodied yet gorgeously pure and elegant wine is impeccably balanced and certainly one of the all-time great Cheval Blancs. If it continues to improve as much as it has over the last three years since bottling, this wine will certainly rival the 2000, 1990, and 1982. Anticipated maturity: 2009-2030.

Score: 98+Robert Parker, The World's Greatest Wine Estates, November 2005

This blend of 55% Cabernet Franc and 45% Merlot exhibits a dark ruby/purple color as well as classic aromas of menthol, plums, mulberries, and assorted black fruits. The oak, texture, acidity, and tannin are all beautifully integrated. While full-bodied, elegant, concentrated, and impeccably balanced, it requires several years of cellaring.

Score: 93Robert Parker, Wine Advocate (134), April 2001

This offering is just beginning to put on more weight and reveal the multiple dimensions that Cheval Blanc can achieve. An extremely difficult wine to judge young because of the high percentage of Cabernet Franc in the blend, the dark ruby/purple-colored 1998 possesses medium body, and a gorgeously sweet nose of black fruits, flowers, minerals, and toast. Rich and expansive, with a silky texture, a sexy, exotic personality, and an elegant, stylish, creamy-textured finish, it is weightier, thicker, and richer than when tasted in spring, 1999. If it continues to develop, the above score will appear stingy. I like the direction of this wine's evolution. Anticipated maturity: 2004-2020.

Score: 91/92Robert Parker, Wine Advocate (128), April 2000

Cheval Blanc harvested its Merlot in mid to late September, and the Cabernet Franc after the rains of September 27 and 28. Yields were a modest 32 hectoliters per hectare, and approximately 72% of the production went into the grand vin. The 1998's final blend was 52% Merlot and 48% Cabernet Franc. A beautifully made Cheval, it may be the finest effort since 1990, although it does not possess that vintage's over-ripeness and opulence. Nevertheless, it is an impressive, sweet, distinctive wine with a deep dark ruby/purple color, and aromas of blackberry liqueur, vanillin, coconut, and a touch of coffee. The 1998 is elegant and sweet, with surprisingly good fatness, medium body, and well-integrated, velvety tannin. This wine can be difficult to taste young (because of the high percentage of Cabernet Franc), and often puts on considerable weight, meriting an even higher score after several years. That being said, the 1998 performed extremely well for such a young Cheval Blanc. Anticipated maturity: 2002-2016.

Score: 90/93Robert Parker, Wine Advocate (122), April 1999

An ex-château bottle, I have enjoyed the Cheval Blanc '98 on a number of occasions, though in the company of the 2000 I think it does not quite have the same class. It has a lifted perfumed bouquet that has an almost Northern Rhône-like allure. It is high-toned compared to the millennial wine, without quite the same delineation. The palate is medium-bodied with good length. Lively and focused, more ostentatious than either the 1990 and 2000, there is a slight Californian element to this wine. With fine symmetry towards the finish, one can see it ageing for another two decade without problem, though it needs to muster a little more soul. Tasted February 2014.

Score: 95Neal Martin, eRobertParker.com, February 2014

This is destined to be a legendary Cheval Blanc. A deep garnet colour. The nose is intense, though more broody than the bottle shown four months later with hints of blackberry, plum and sloe. The bouquet needs time to unfurl, so advise serious decanting if opening any bottles now. The palate is full-bodied, beautifully delineated with here, a hint of oyster sauce on the mid-palate. Crunchy blackberry, oodles of sweet Merlot but unlike the '01, complemented by some wonderful Cabernet Franc. Even after a couple of hours in glass, this wine is revealing nuances. Stunning. Tasted October 2007

Score: 98Neal Martin, Wine-Journal.com, July 2008

Subtle, complex and refined, with aromas of cherry, licorice, mineral, berry and other sweet, ripe fruit. Full-bodied and compacted, with masses of fine, silky tannins. Long, long finish. Best after 2010. 8,330 cases made. (JS)

 James Suckling, Wine Spectator (31 Jan 01), January 2001

Score: 98James Suckling, Wine Spectator, January 2001

Mid crimson with a tad more development at the rim than Ausone or Pétrus. Already complex nose - sweet and rather dusty, more like the old traditional Cheval than recent vintages. Currant bun nose, Rich and yet firm and stylish on the palate, Silky and polished. Dry yet sappy finish. This grew in the glass to be very impressive. Both ripe and yet gorgeous to drink with real freshness. Quite a triumph. Drink 2009-2022. Date tasted 7th April 08.

Score: 19Jancis Robinson MW, JancisRobinson.com, April 2008

Please note that these tasting notes/scores are not intended to be exhaustive and in some cases they may not be the most recently published figures. However, we always do our best to add latest scores and reviews when these come to our attention. We advise customers who wish to purchase wines based simply on critical reviews to carry out further research into the latest reports.