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.
|Score: 93/95||Neal Martin, vinous.com, May 2018|
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.
|Score: 93/95||Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW, Wine Advocate (236), April 2018|
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.
|Score: 97||James Suckling, JamesSuckling.com, January 2020|
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.
|Score: 97/98||James Suckling, JamesSuckling.com, April 2018|
The 2017 Cheval Blanc bristles with tension. 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. Vibrant and pulsing with a real sense of direction, the 2017 is going to need a number of years to be at its very best. Even so, it is an utterly fascinating wine. The blend is 56% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Franc and 14% Cabernet Sauvignon, aging in 100% new oak.
|Score: 93/96||Antonio Galloni, vinous.com, May 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.
|Score: 17.5||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.
|Score: 17+||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
|Score: 93/95||Derek Smedley MW, DerekSmedleyMW.co.uk, April 2018|
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
|Score: 96||Jane Anson, Decanter.com, 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.
|Score: 18+||Matthew Jukes, Matthew Jukes' Blog, April 2018|