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Cheval Blanc 2017

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. It is now planted with 49% Cabernet Franc, 45% Merlot and 6% Cabernet Sauvignon

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Tasting Notes

A wine of sublime elegance and finesse, the 2017 Cheval Blanc is endowed with tremendous energy, precision and cut. Red/purplish fruit, mint, sage, blood orange, star anise and exotic spice notes abound in a mid-weight, finely cut Cheval that dazzles with its energy. Technical Director Pierre-Olivier Clouet gave the 2017 26-27 days on skins. Because of severe frost damage, in 2017, the Grand Vin includes a high percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon (14%), from gravelly soils, which gives the wine very unusual flavor and structure profile. The 2017 Cheval Blanc has all the ingredients to be one of the wines of the vintage. It is class personified. Wow! 2027 - 2047

Antonio Galloni, vinous.com, March 2020

The 2017 Cheval Blanc contains more Cabernet Sauvignon than usual due to the reconfiguration of the blend after frost. Pierre Lurton and his team took the bold decision to express the growing season rather than the classic Cheval Blanc blend. It has a crisp blackcurrant and bilberry scented bouquet with touches of mint and cedar, very Left Bank in style due to the influence of the Cabernet. The palate is medium-bodied with supple tannins, fine acidity, quite linear at the moment with an almost austere, aloof finish. It is a fascinating Cheval Blanc insofar that is atypical in style, although I must confess that I miss the crucial contribution of the Merlot. Having said that, I applaud the decision to reflect the growing season come what may. 2023 - 2040

Neal Martin, vinous.com, February 2020

Tasted blind. Mid ruby colour. Highly aromatic, grilled red peppers, roasted red cherries and strawberries with baking spices. The palate is glossy and suave; yet remains fresh throughout. There is a real hit of Cabernet Franc vibrancy – crunchy, leafy and edgy while remaining perfectly harmonious throughout. This is a wine that flies close to the edge but is beautifully executed.
Drink 2025 – 2040

Thomas Parker MW, JancisRobinson.com, October 2021

This is a special Cheval-Blanc with blackcurrants, blueberries and hints of fresh herbs, tobacco and cedar. Full-bodied, very powerful and muscular with lots of tannins. The higher percentage of cabernet sauvignon (15% instead of 5%) makes it structured. Give it time to come together. Better after 2022.

James Suckling, JamesSuckling.com, January 2020

At Cheval Blanc they lost 40% of the crop to frost in 2017 and couldn't use any of the second generation crop in the end. The final blend for the 2017 Cheval Blanc was 56% Merlot, 29% Cabernet Franc, and 15% Cabernet Sauvignon. Medium to deep garnet in color, it flies out of the glass with a fantastic array of gregarious scents - Morello cherries, mulberries, and raspberry coulis - plus suggestions of lilacs, cinnamon toast, vanilla pod, and chocolate box. Medium-bodied, the palate shimmers with beautiful energy and freshness, framed by fine-grained tannins and bold freshness, finishing long and perfumed. So pretty!

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

A sense of forward motion here makes you smile - a reaction that's missing in many wines this year. The tannins push their way right through the palate, but cradle the cassis and bilberry fruit rather than smother it, helped by the fact that floral and smoky aromatics rise up. There's good persistency and you get that little kick and dance of minerality. The precision engineering is clear, but the overall feeling is simply of cohesion and enjoyment. 3.65ph. 100% new oak, but without a trace even now at this early stage. Approximately 60% of the wine this year came from the gravelly plots which were less affected by the frost, which accounts for a slightly higher level of Cabernet Sauvignon than usual. They used perhaps 1% of secondary budding in this blend (five weeks behind schedule at bud-break and then around 15 days by harvest) and kept picking from 15 September to 11 October - an extremely long schedule compared to most estates in 2017. With around 30% loss to frost, there will be 50,000 bottles of Cheval in 2017, compared to 116,000 in 2016. 21hl/ha yield this year, 75% destined for the grand vin. Drinking Window 2026 - 2040

Jane Anson, Decanter.com, April 2018

Tangy and fresh on the palate. Relatively delicate on the nose. Fine, scented graphite and herbaceous nose, classic Cheval. Deep cherry red. Super-fresh and very fine texture. Paper-fine tannins. Perfect balance between the fruit and the framework. Smaller berries with higher tannins, apparently. Succulent, tender, fresh. Moreish and mouth-watering. Melts in the mouth and persists.
Drink 2027-2042

Julia Harding MW, JancisRobinson.com, April 2018

Cheval Blanc 2017 was picked over a long period from 6th September to 11th October. The selection process meant that 77% of the crop will be grand vin, a small amount of Petit Cheval (8%) will be made, with the rest sold off in bulk. There is a significant amount of Cabernet Sauvignon (14%) in the blend from new plantings that are now coming on stream with 30% Cabernet Franc and 56% Merlot. A medium deep ruby with very expressive and expansive aromatics of blood orange, scorched earth, violets and gun flint. The palate is supple and silky smooth, with rich and creamy, melting milk chocolate texture making for an indulgent fruit profile. Plump cherries and plums abound, with a juicy core spreading through to a long finish that is bolstered by notes of moccha from the oak.

Farr Vintners, April 2018

The nose has charm fragrant some fresh fruits the palate is light at the start. Rich and ripe in the middle the fruit supported by fine tannins the layers of flavour give complexity. The finish has length sweetness yet freshness classic. 2027-42

Derek Smedley MW, DerekSmedleyMW.co.uk, April 2018

There is a much more serious nose here than on the Petit Cheval with a lot more of the mid-palate richness which was missing on the second wine. The nose is rather deeper and the oak is prevalent but this is a much more discreet wine than expected. The fruit is smooth and rather spicy with some green notes and the tannins are dry but not astringent, this is a quiet Cheval Blanc and one which will be slow to evolve and always more discreet on the palate than the more bombastic wines.

Matthew Jukes, Matthew Jukes' Blog, April 2018
Read more tasting notes...

The 2017 Cheval Blanc comes from 97% first generation grapes and 3% second generation from two-thirds of the vineyard, using a sorting table to select the ripest berries that were matured separately in small vats. The rejected second generation were sold off in bulk and not blended into the deuxième vin. There is a high percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon and comparatively lower percentage of Cabernet Franc due to the frost damage. So this is a more Left Bank Cheval Blanc using more the gravel soils than clay since the latter are colder. It has a tightly wound, almost Saint Estèphe-inspired bouquet, with fresh blackberry, cedar, wet clay and light iris-like aromas. The palate is medium-bodied with fine tannin, masculine in style, less corpulent than the 2015 or 2016, stricter and more linear, a “cool” Cheval Blanc that eschews the florality of previous vintages with a saline, marine-tinged finish. This is a cerebral Cheval Blanc, not the greatest in recent years, but one of the most interesting to sit and think about (and then drink of course!). Drink 2024-2042.

Neal Martin, vinous.com, May 2018

This is tight and very tannic with a linear and steely backbone of texture. Full-bodied, compacted and complete. Muscular and flexing it but polished and toned. Wow. There is 6% cabernet sauvignon in the blend, which may be giving this even more strength. Very, very long. Very Left Bank in terms of the power and depth.

James Suckling, JamesSuckling.com, April 2018

The blend this year is 15% Cabernet Sauvignon, 29% Cabernet Franc and 56% Merlot, possessing an unusually high percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon. Deep garnet-purple colored, the 2017 Cheval Blanc needs a fair bit of coaxing to reveal notions of plum preserves, redcurrant jelly, kirsch and red roses plus emerging nuances of aniseed, Sichuan pepper, pencil lead and charcoal. Medium to full-bodied, the palate offers impressive intensity with layer upon layer of red and black flavors with sparks of minerals and floral notes plus a firm line of fine-grained tannins and bold freshness to support, finishing very long and very fragrant. 2023-2055.

Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW, Wine Advocate (March 2020), March 2020

The 2017 Cheval Blanc is composed of 56% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Franc and 14% Cabernet Sauvignon—an unusually high percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon for this wine. Deep garnet-purple colored, it opens slowly to reveal a gorgeous lilacs, roses, licorice and black truffles nose over a compelling core of cassis, warm plums, wild blueberries and cigar box plus a waft of wood smoke. Medium to full-bodied, firm and earthy in character on the palate, it packs in tightly wound fruits and mineral accents, culminating in a long, perfumed finish. 50,000 bottles are to be produced.

Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW, Wine Advocate (236), April 2018
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.