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Cheval Blanc 2012

Subregion France > Bordeaux > Right Bank > St Emilion
Grape VarietyCabernet Franc/Merlot

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Tasting Notes

The 2012 Cheval Blanc boasts stunning power and a vertical, imposing sense of structure that is quite rare in this vintage. Dark and almost brooding in style, the Cheval is a rare 2012 that absolutely demands cellaring. Smoke, tobacco, incense and dark spices open up with time, but the 2012 is a reticent, tannic wine that is only showing the barest hints of its ultimate potential. This is a magnificent showing and one of the clear highlights of the year. Drink 2020-2042.

Antonio Galloni, vinous.com, January 2016

The 2012 Cheval Blanc is deep garnet-brick in color. Notes of cigar box, Chinese five spice, and plum preserves all leap from the nose, leading to hints of dried cherries, dusty soil, graphite, and garrigue. The medium-bodied palate is both generous and lively, with velvety tannins to support and a long, spicy finish.

Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW, The Wine Independent, September 2023

A beautiful wine that always seems to drink well, the 2012 Cheval Blanc has a sweet, fragrant nose of black and red currants, floral nuances and spice. Supple, round and juicy, this wine can be drunk now or cellared for another 15 or more years. Drink 2015-2030.

Robert Parker, Wine Advocate (218), April 2015

The 2012 Cheval Blanc has a lovely bouquet with raspberry coulis, hints of marmalade and just a touch of espresso, nicely detailed though not intense. The palate is medium-bodied with a strict entry. This is quite backward and tight, lightly spiced with a touch of sour cherry and cracked black pepper on the finish. This is a delicious, well-crafted Cheval Blanc. A second bottle demonstrates just a little more backbone and persistence. Tasted twice at Bordeaux Index's Ten Year-On tasting and blind at the Southwold Ten-Year On tasting.

Neal Martin, vinous.com, February 2022

A Cheval Blanc with an impressive center palate of blueberries, chocolate, almonds and spices. Full body, a solid core of fruit and a long, long finish. Goes on for minutes. Beautiful wine. Seamless tannins. Needs a few years of bottle age. Better in 2017

James Suckling, JamesSuckling.com, February 2015

Seductive, rich flavours, far more creamy in its fruit expression than many of the top Left Banks in the 2012 vintage, and yet also higher in fresh acidities, giving a lovely push-and-pull contrast. Persistent, with sage and white pepper spice, this is a nuanced and sculputed wine, full of personality and grace. Not the depth of the truly great vintages at Cheval such as the 2010 or 2016, but this is one of the wines of the tasting, with layers of flavour that will take decades to fully unwind. 100% new oak.

Jane Anson, JaneAnson.com (80), March 2022

54% Merlot, 46% Cabernet Franc. Deep dark crimson. Marked Cabernet nose. Smells pure and fresh and crunchy. Finest of fine tannins but they go deep, as does the fruit. It is not leafy but there that classic Cabernet Franc fresh aroma that tends that way. There's some grip but fine friction. Elegant, long; energy underneath a relatively gentle-seeming exterior. 'Power and sweetness of Merlot and finesse of Cabernet Franc. The true Cheval Blanc style we like', says Kees van Leeuwen. Very clean, complex aromatic profile. Delicious and I think you could drink it, with much pleasure, even earlier than I have suggested. (JH)

Julia Harding MW, JancisRobinson.com, April 2013

Cheval Blanc is one of the great names of Bordeaux and the most famous Chateau in Saint Emilion. Cheval can be a difficult wine to evaluate when young but rarely disappoints when mature. The 37 hectares of vines border Pomerol but the wine is different from Pomerol thanks to the high percentage of Cabernet Franc in the vineyard (52% Cabernet Franc and 48% Merlot). The 2012 was made from a low crop with 31 hl/ha and is a blend of 54% Merlot, 46% Cabernet Franc. This is a wine of great density yet it is light on its feet with a sumptuous palate of creamy milk chocolate and a hint of figs and raisins. Plump, round, fleshy and seductive. A really lovely example of Cheval Blanc at its oppulent best. Silky and finely-balanced with a long finish. Pure class. A great achievement and they've even suggested that they might get the price right this year!

Farr Vintners, March 2013

This wine is gorgeous in all facets, offering a simultaneously loamy
and creamy mouthfeel, seamless layers of red and black currant,
cherry, raspberry and blackberry fruit, and a long, tobacco-fueled
finish that features alluring hints of black tea and incense. The fruit
and terroir shine in this broad, deep and defined style. Best from
2018 through 2030.

James Molesworth, Wine Spectator Insider, January 2015

The nose has a lovely mix of fruits bramble, black cherry and a touch of mulberry all backed by a hint of spice. The mid palate is deep with rich flavours but towards the back it is fresher giving the finish an elegant charm. 2018-35.

Derek Smedley MW, April 2013

Cheval Blanc's yields were unusually low in 2012 because of a difficult flowering that lasted
a month and a green harvest in August. The proportion of Merlot was slightly lower than
normal, but otherwise this is a typically impressive performance from Pierre Lurton and his
team: focused, polished, yet quite closed, with plenty of tannin and minerality, good density
of fruit and the sense that the wine needs at least a decade to show at its best.
Drink: 2015-40

Tim Atkin MW, timatkin.com, April 2013
Read more tasting notes...

Medium to deep garnet colored, the 2012 Cheval Blanc reveals lovely cassis, warm black cherries and redcurrant jelly notions with underlying hints of cedar chest, garrigue, Indian spices and damp soil. Medium to full-bodied, it possesses wonderful energy and freshness on the palate with a beautifully poised ethereal nature and long mineral-tinged finish. This elegantly crafted beauty should enter its drinking window in a couple of years and cellar gracefully for another 20+ years. Drink 2020-2040.

Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW, Wine Advocate (238), August 2018

The final blend for the 2012 Cheval Blanc was 54% Merlot and 46% Cabernet Franc. Despite the use of 100% new oak, there is not a hint of vanillin, toast or espresso notes in the aromatic bouquet, which is filled with scents of black currants, sweet cherries, lavender, forest floor and a hint of underbrush. Concentrated with a surprisingly lofty alcohol level of 13.9% as well as a tannin level that equals their 2010 (a wine bestowed a three-digit score), this full-bodied, opulent 2012 has a pH of 3.8, which accounts for its suppleness, velvety texture and heady richness. It is a great success in this vintage. It will be approachable early given its silky structural aspects, and should last for two decades.

Robert Parker, Wine Advocate (206), April 2013

Tasted blind at the 2012 Southwold tasting, the 2012 Cheval Blanc has a perfumed, outgoing, almost "glossy" bouquet that wants to be noticed, lavished with damson, wild strawberry, fig jam and crème de cassis scents that are totally seductive. The palate is medium-bodied with ripe, succulent, sensual red cherries and wild strawberry fruit, though perhaps the finish showed some superfluous hubris that just erased some of the potential delineation and focus. On this occasion it was pipped to the post by Ausone, but let us see how it matures, because the white horse always repays those that are patient. Tasted January 2016.

Neal Martin, RobertParker.com (227), October 2016

The Grand Vin is a blend of 54% Merlot and 46% Cabernet Franc, 26th September until the 13th October that comes from 35 different parcels. The picking is done in the vineyard for the first sorting by the pickers and then sorted by hand as they are sure delicate than using optical sorting machine. It has a dense, broody nose that has the looming presence of the Quinault L'Enclos. It veers towards a red fruit profile, with "rocky" aromas, perhaps a touch of marmalade and quince. The palate is medium-bodied but displays very good concentration for the vintages. It feels very harmonious - silky but with a citric acid edge that lends the finish the tension it needs to maintain the freshness. This will probably become a masculine Cheval Blanc that will need a decade in bottle. Tasted April 2013.

Neal Martin, RobertParker.com, May 2013

This is really beautiful with blackberry, chocolate, and light nuts character. Full yet refined and beautiful. Seamless tannins. It goes on for minutes. This is so elegant and beautiful. The tannins are just right and not overdone for the vintage.

James Suckling, JamesSuckling.com, April 2013
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.