|Subregion||France > Bordeaux > Right Bank > St Emilion|
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.
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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!
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.
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
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!!
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.