Farr Vintners Logo

Cheval Blanc 2016

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

Cheval Blanc is one of the great names of Bordeaux and the most famous Chateau in Saint Emilion. The 39 hectares of vines border Pomerol but the wine is different from Pomerol thanks to the high percentage of Cabernet Franc in the vineyard. A stunning new winery has recently been completed. There is no doubt that this is a great vineyard with an excellent wine-making team.

View all vintages of this wine | View all wines by Cheval Blanc


Tasting Notes

The 2016 Cheval Blanc is a blend of 58% Merlot, 38% Cabernet Franc, and 4% Cabernet Sauvignon and has a deep garnet-purple color. It needs a fair bit of swirling to unlock a powerful, profound nose of cassis, black raspberries, and stewed plums, followed by suggestions of Indian spices, fragrant soil, crushed rocks, and menthol, with a touch of violets. Medium-bodied, the palate is bright, energetic and gracefully styled, featuring youthful blackberry layers and loads of mineral and floral sparks, with a fine-grained, beautifully ripe texture, finishing long and earthy. Mind-blowing!

Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW, The Wine Independent, December 2022

The 2016 Cheval Blanc has an exquisite bouquet of pixelated black and red fruit, crushed stone, violets and seamlessly integrated new oak; this is utterly seductive. The medium-bodied palate reveals a hint of marmalade on the entry. Powerful and dense, this is an impressive, almost heady nascent wine with plenty of grip and sinew toward the finish. Maybe it lacks that crystalline detail at the moment, but it is clearly a long-term proposition. Tasted blind at the annual Southwold tasting. 2026 - 2070

Neal Martin, vinous.com, August 2020

Wet earth and sliced, fresh mushrooms. Menthol. Dark berries, such as blackberries and blueberries. Full-bodied, dense and whole, but you don’t feel the tannins, even though it is so powerful and structured. Detailed and defined. Cashmere. Wonderful finish. Glorious young Cheval. Try after 2025, but so wonderful already.

James Suckling, JamesSuckling.com, February 2019

Another excellent Cheval, this is a wine that every year stands among the greatest in the region. The main impression is of a softly-spun silky texture with complete focus and clarity through the palate. There is some of the density of 2010 here, with the florality of 2005. Gorgeous. Many people spent a long time picking in 2016, but at Cheval Blanc everything came in within just 10 days, rather unusually picking grapes on gravel and clay at the same time. The blend is 59% Merlot, 38% Cabernet Franc and 3% Cabernet Sauvignon aged in 100% new oak.

Drinking Window 2027 - 2050

Jane Anson, Decanter.com, April 2017

Tasty floral start and then quite rich. A bit of grainy astringency (from those concrete vats?) in terms of texture - by no means unpleasant. Lots of floral notes, hint of putty and then lovely richness underneath. Quite a contrast between nose and palate. Smudgy palate and precise nose. Tannins really present on the end. Very floral on the nose. Big gap! Not sweet!!
Drink 2028-2045

Jancis Robinson MW, JancisRobinson.com, April 2017

Cheval Blanc is one of the great names of Bordeaux and the most famous Chateau in Saint Emilion. The 39 hectares of vines border Pomerol but the wine is different from Pomerol thanks to the high percentage of Cabernet Franc in the vineyard. A stunning new winery has recently been completed. There is no doubt that this is a great vineyard with an excellent wine-making team. 16% of the production, which made the Grand Vin last year, has been sold off in bulk and a further 7% will be used for the returning Petit Cheval. The blend is 59% Merlot, 38% Cabernet Franc, and for the first time 3% Cabernet Sauvignon on a newly planted plot of deep gravel near Figeac's vineyards. Spicy, minty, peppery and juicy on the nose with cassis, black cherry and plum. The palate is intense yet ethereal with fine, chalky, but persistent tannins framing spicy, chocolatey and pure fruit. Precice and powerful with great restraint giving lift, freshness and harmony on a very long, complex and toasty finish.

Farr Vintners, February 2017

The grand vin 2016 Château Cheval Blanc checks in as 60% Merlot, 37% Cabernet Franc, and 3% Cabernet Sauvignon brought up in new barrels, and this is the first year a replanted block of Cabernet Sauvignon has made the top cuvée. Compared to the 2001 by Pierre Lurton, it displays stunning aromatic fireworks with notions of blackcurrants, forest floor, iron bar, graphite, and spice all soaring from the glass. It develops more floral nuances with time in the glass and, as always with this cuvée, it’s all about complexity and elegance. More medium to full-bodied, with beautiful tannins and perfect balance, it’s a decidedly classic, focused, elegant wine from this estate that will keep for 3-4 decades. 2023 - 2063.

Jeb Dunnuck, JebDunnuck.com, February 2019

Spring violets the nose has a floral fragrant charm the start of the palate has fresh black fruits. Depth and sweetness in the middle fleshy, opulent with ripe black plum the tannins are discreet the sweet fruit giving way to fresher lighter flavours on the stylish long finish. 2025-39

Derek Smedley MW, DerekSmedleyMW.co.uk, April 2017

Cabernet Sauvignon makes a (small) appearance in the Grand Vin for the first time in ten years at Cheval in 2016. It’s a suitably dense, grippy, well-structured wine, with fine, savoury tannins, taut acidity, layers of dark plum and blackberry fruit and stylish oak. 2028-40

Tim Atkin MW, timatkin.com, April 2017
Read more tasting notes...

The 2016 Cheval Blanc is blended of 59.5% Merlot, 37.2% Cabernet Franc and 3.3% Cabernet Sauvignon. Deep garnet-purple in color, the nose is incredibly youthful yet not so shy as some other 2016s at this stage, giving wonderfully intense scents of red currants, black cherries, wild blueberries and violets with nuances of star anise, cinnamon stick, rose hip tea, cigar box and wood smoke plus a touch of beef drippings. Medium to full-bodied, the palate has jaw-dropping elegance and depth, offering up layer upon layer of fragrant red and black fruits plus an extraordinary array of mineral sparks, supported by a rock-solid grainy texture, finishing with epic persistence and an edifying perfume. This is a very different style from the rich, opulently hedonic 2015, yet this wonderfully fragrant, beautifully poised and intellectually compelling 2016 is equally extraordinary. Drink 2023-2070.

Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW, Wine Advocate (Interim En), November 2018

The 2016 Cheval Blanc is the first year that replanted Cabernet Sauvignon was included in the Grand Vin. This has an intense, tightly wound bouquet that unwinds with aeration, maintaining stunning delineation and precision and offering scents of blackberry, briar and graphite and a faint hint of dark chocolate. The palate is very harmonious, precise and classic in style, and a little spicier than I recall from barrel. The oak is seamlessly integrated, and the pixelated, fresh, marine-tinged finish lingers in the mouth. Wow! Very different from the more rounded 2015 Cheval Blanc, though this might end up being the more classic but cerebral proposition. Drink 2026-2070

Neal Martin, vinous.com (Jan 2019), January 2019

The 2016 Cheval Blanc is a blend of 59% Merlot, 38% Cabernet Franc and (the return of) 3% Cabernet Sauvignon from the gravel soils since in this vintage the vines showed absolutely no stress. It delivers 14.25% alcohol with an IPT of 75 and a pH 3.67, which Pierre Lurton told me is a little lower than normal. As usual, it is matured in 100% new oak. It has a very pure, correct and quite penetrating bouquet with black cherries, blackcurrant, graphite and a touch of wild mint. It is bashful at first but opens with confidence with aeration (incidentally, I allowed my sample 40 minutes to open). The palate is medium-bodied with filigree tannin and a killer line of acidity that imparts so much freshness from the starting gun. That soupçon on Cabernet Sauvignon does make a difference, lending a subtle vein of graphite that runs throughout the wine. It remains linear, with laser-like focus towards the extraordinarily persistent finish, pencil lead on the "HB" aftertaste. This is a classic and intellectual Cheval Blanc, not as charming perhaps as the 2015 Cheval Blanc, but it will unquestionably age gracefully over decades not years. Drink 2024 - 2060.

Neal Martin, Wine Advocate (230), April 2017

This is very powerful Cheval with searing tannins and bright fruit, acidity and mineral undertones. Full and muscular yet beautifully formed and polished. It’s all about the form to this. Better than 2015.

James Suckling, JamesSuckling.com, March 2017
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.