Le Petit Cheval 2018

SubregionSt Emilion

Cheval Blanc's second label is used for fruit not considered up to the quality level required for the grand vin but still of a high standard. It's not produced every year. In 2018 16% of the crop was sold off in bulk, 10% only went into Petit Cheval from 5 plots that all went into the Cheval Blanc itself in 2016 (so 1500 cases) and 74% into the grand vin. Pierre-Olivier Clouet believes this to be the best vintage ever for Petit Cheval which is 70% Merlot and 30% Cabernet Franc.


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Tasting Notes

Bright ruby in colour, with a fragrant nose of vanilla pod, bramble fruit and black pepper. The palate is extremely refined and glossy, with seamless tannins melting into bright, fleshy red and black fruits. Superb intensity without any heavyness, and a rounded, forward finish of summer pudding fruits make this absolutely delicious, and a wine that will drink well when young.

Score: 16+Farr Vintners, Farr Tasting, April 2019

The 2018 Le Petit Cheval comes from the usual five parcels representing the diverse soils across the estate. It has a tightly wound bouquet with blackberry, blueberry, cedar and light iris petal notes, broody at the moment but opening with aeration. The palate is medium-bodied and very pliant with pure black fruit mixed with light truffle and tobacco notes. Harmonious with a precise finish that feels a tad compact at the moment. Therefore, give bottles three to four years once this is released, which it will be (unlike the previous vintage!) 2025-2040

Score: 90/92Neal Martin, vinous.com, November 2019

“This year, this is truly a baby Cheval, right in line with the grand vin,” commented Technical Director Pierre-Olivier Couet. Ten percent of the total production this year went into this second label of Cheval Blanc. Composed of 70% Merlot and 30% Cabernet Franc, the medium to deep garnet-purple colored 2018 Le Petit Cheval needs a lot of coaxing to encourage subtle nuances of crushed rocks, fallen leaves, potpourri and fertile loam to emerge before giving way to fragrant notes of warm blueberries, black raspberries, kirsch and unsmoked cigars with a touch of Marmite toast. Medium to full-bodied, the palate delivers layers of fresh, crunchy black fruits and loads of earthy sparks, framed by soft, velvety tannins and just enough freshness, finishing long.

Score: 93/95Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW, Wine Advocate (April 2019), April 2019

This shows beautiful density of fruit, but the tannins arrive at the end and show impressive length and density. Full body. Wild fruit. Excellent second wine from Cheval.

Score: 93/94James Suckling, JamesSuckling.com, April 2019

The 2018 Petit Cheval represents 10% of the estate's production and is taken from a collection of five parcels that span all of the three main soil types of the property: sand, gravel and clay, all of which were, incidentally, in the Grand Vin in 2016. A wine of remarkable harmony and class, the 2018 Petit Cheval possesses striking textural depth and nuance. Succulent black cherry, mocha, grilled herb, licorice and menthol build in a voluptuous, racy Petit Cheval that will drink well right out of the gate. The blend is 70% Merlot and 30% Cabernet Franc.

Score: 90/93Antonio Galloni, vinous.com, May 2019

In the running for the top second wine of the vintage, the 2018 Le Petit Cheval checks in as 70% Merlot and 30% Cabernet Franc and has incredible quality for a second wine. Floral notes of black cherries, graphite, and smoked earth all emerge from this medium to full-bodied Saint-Émilion that has plenty of classic Cheval Blanc elegance and purity as well as length. It’s already seamless and hard to resist, and ideal for drinking over the coming two decades or so.

Score: 93/95Jeb Dunnuck, JebDunnuck.com, May 2019

(70 Merlot, 30 Cabernet Franc) | 50% new oak for 12 months | 14.5% alc | 20% percent of 18000 bottle production went into this wine More closed and firm and rather mineral-soaked and a little bit too hard right now to fall in love with. There seems to be a lack of generosity and there is a tough finish, too, and this makes this a difficult wine to taste. The lack of overt flesh and juiciness makes me want to mark it down, but I can see a faint glimmer of fruit in the core, which will undoubtedly emerge given time. There is a chance that this might turn out to be one of the great second wines of the vintage but it will be a very long wait! I am crossing my fingers.

Score: 17+Matthew Jukes, MatthewJukes.com, April 2019

This shows beautiful density of fruit, but the tannins arrive at the end and show impressive length and density. Full body. Wild fruit. Excellent second wine from Cheval.

Score: 93/94

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.