|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 led by the talented Pierre-Olivier Clouet and overseen by Pierre Lurton. It is now planted with 49% Cabernet Franc, 45% Merlot and 6% Cabernet Sauvignon. The 2018 vintage reminds Pierre-Olivier of the 2016 and is dense and ripe but also fresh and vibrant - harking back to the great 1998 vintage. The yield was a healthy 43 hl/ha and the wine is being aged in 100% new oak.
The 2018 Cheval Blanc is a blend of 54% Merlot, 40% Cabernet Franc and 6% Cabernet Sauvignon, with a 3.75 pH and 14.5% alcohol. Deep garnet-purple colored, it needs considerable swirling and air to releases fragrant notes of stewed plums, juicy black cherries and ripe blackberries with underlying suggestions of damp soil, black truffles, rose oil and cardamom with wafts of underbrush and iron ore. The medium to full-bodied palate is densely packed with rich black fruits and loads of earthy accents, framed by super firm, grainy tannins and seamless freshness to balance, finishing with amazing length and a beautiful array of floral and mineral sparks. Thirty-three plots contributed to this wine, out of the forty-three in production. Of the rest, five went into Petit Cheval and five into bulk. It will need a good 6-7 years at least to really start to strut its stuff and should cellar for a further 30 years or more. 2027 - 2057.
Showing beautifully from barrel and now from bottle, the 2018 Château Cheval Blanc is a final blend of 54% Merlot, 40% Cabernet Franc, and the rest Cabernet Sauvignon. It's a pure, classic Cheval Blanc in that it relies more on complexity and elegance than power, offering a beautiful perfume of red and blackcurrants, spring flowers, spice, forest floor, incense, and tobacco. This carries to a medium to full-bodied Cheval Blanc offering wonderful purity of fruit, a seamless, layered texture, incredible tannins, and a lengthy, focused finish. It shows less of the sunny style of the vintage now than it did from barrel, and it's a wonderfully complete wine that delivers awesome freshness in its aromatics, plenty of ripe, sweet fruit, and the tannins and structure that seem to come from a long, cooler season. Reminding me slightly of the 2016, with a touch of the 2001, give this gorgeous wine 5-7 years of bottle age, count yourself lucky, and enjoy over the following 2-3 decades.
Love the floral character to the aromas of dark fruit, such as blueberries and black cherries. Red and black licorice, too. The full-bodied palate starts slowly and then expands with super polished, searing tannins that lead you up the palate into a place of grandeur. Lightly chewy at the end. Such great purity and presence here. 6% cabernet sauvignon in the blend with franc and merlot. Try after 2028.
When I tasted the 2018 Cheval Blanc from barrel, I felt that it deserved a very good score, though not one that implied potential perfection. The bottle was tasted upon opening, but I only began to pen my tasting note after 3–4 hours’ decanting. I still find the bouquet more open than many recent vintages, the ripe brambly red fruit intermingling with clove, sage and light graphite notes originating from the Cabernet components (46% of the final blend). It is a really seductive bouquet, though not as complex or as nuanced as, say, the astonishing 2016 or the impressive 2015. The palate is medium-bodied with refined tannins. A harmonious and elegant Cheval Blanc that has retained the linearity I remarked upon in barrel. So it is not a flamboyant Cheval Blanc like the Cabernet-dominated 2017, but it is a far better wine thanks to the Merlot imparting flesh and rondeur. The finish is extremely precise but never powerful, almost Burgundy-like in weight, with a lightly spiced aftertaste. As the hours pass in the decanter, it gains depth and a little more precision on the finish. This does not possess the otherworldly profundity to equal legends such as the 1934, 1964 or 2016; it is simply a wonderful Cheval Blanc to sit back and savor as a Saint-Émilion par excellence. 2026 - 2050.
Tasted blind at Southwold 2018. Vivid ruby colour. Creamy red cherry and plum fruit on the nose together with subtle tones of nutmeg and vanilla. There is an underlying graphite tone to add real intrigue. This follows on the palate, with intense red fruit and herbal notes coming together. The creamy, polished texture of the tannins leave no hard edges and allow these intermingling sweet and savoury tones to shine. The character of Cabernet Franc is evident throughout and adds real intrigue. Highly refined and succulent through to a long finish.
This is a wonderful, fairly classic Cheval Blanc, less exuberant than some of the wines that you're going to find in 2018. It's full of intense red and black berries, floral notes, and a ton of menthol, eucalyptus and liquorice which underpins the entire concentrated fruit expression. Silky tannins slowly layer up over the palate. It's full of focus and extremely elegant but it accelerates through the mid-palate, gathering strength as it goes. I love this wine in so many vintages, and they have done it again in 2018.
There's no press wine, as ever, with 74% of the crop making it into this wine.
Drinking Window 2028 - 2042
Tasted blind. Colour not that concentrated. Savoury – almost yeast extract – nose. Big, concentrated, sweet. Quite a monument of a wine. Dry finish. Very youthful. 14.5%
Drink 2029 – 2047
Deepest cherry red. Pure cassis, with a more savoury mineral aspect and opening to become more scented. Very, very fresh. Dark and mineral on the palate. Extremely fine tannic texture. More savoury, with that dark finesse on the finish. Long, chalky finish, so dry and yet so elegant.
Deep ruby in the glass, this has a wonderful fragrance on the nose, with cloves, nutmeg, white pepper, blood orange and pure black cherry all in harmony. The palate is just as complex, with darker fruits, graphite and lightly sweet spices lifted by refreshing acidity. This gives a feeling of weightless intensity, and lifts the fruit core into floral, redolent red fruits. The tannins are seamless, with a cocoa-like texture giving the impression of milk chocolate and moccha from the judicious use of new oak. Pristine, crystalline fruit still dominates through to a long, enduring finish that is desceptively powerful given the elegance and harmony to the wine. A superb Cheval Blanc.
(54 Merlot, 30 Cabernet Franc, 6 Cabernet Sauvignon) | 100% new oak for 18 months | 43 hl/ha | 14.5% alc | 74% of production went into this wine This is a much more structured and intense wine than expected and it has a dark core and a stern mineral edge which runs all of the way to the finish. There is great freshness and lift on the finish and the tannins are firm but not dry. Tense and introverted, the Cabernet Franc element takes control and it forces the Merlot to stand firm. It was the cool nights in the autumn that fixed the perfume and majesty of the Cabernet Franc and this in turn has made this wine what it is. This is a superbly suave and commanding Cheval Blanc and I like its restraint and control.
The 2018 Cheval Blanc was harvested from 10 September to 11 October, with only 14 days of picking. The yield was 44.8hL/ha, which they believe moderated the level of alcohol and pH. It has a ripe and more open bouquet compared to the Le Petit Cheval with pixelated black cherries, wild strawberry and subtle orange pith aromas. The palate is medium-bodied with supple tannins and very good acidity that maintains freshness. This is quite compact and linear at the moment, gentle in terms of grip with an underlying spiciness that develops towards the finish. It is not a flamboyant Cheval Blanc, stricter than expected and in some ways overriding the excessive tendencies of the growing season. 2026 - 2050
What strikes you is how aromatic this already is at this stage. Complex and decadent, showing lots of dark berries, smoked meat, wet earth, and dried leaves. Decadent. Full-bodied with very ripe and polished, velvety tannins. Great finish.
Thirty-three plots contributed to this wine, out of the 43 in production. Five went into Petit Cheval and five into bulk. The 2018 Cheval Blanc is a blend of 54% Merlot, 40% Cabernet Franc and 6% Cabernet Sauvignon, with a 3.75 pH and 14.5% alcohol. Deep purple-black in color, the nose is more open at the core of the wine than the Le Petit Cheval, strutting out of the glass with bold, ripe black cherries, cassis, warm plums and raspberry preserves notes. With coaxing, a whole array of fragrant spice, floral and earth notes emerge, followed by candied violets, star anise, powdered cinnamon, iron ore, tapenade and truffles plus wafts of camphor and mocha. Medium to full-bodied, the palate is firm yet possesses a beautifully plush structure of velvety tannins wrapping round the densely packed, complex, fragrant fruit, with seamless freshness and a very long, layered finish.
The 2018 Cheval Blanc is another magical wine from this estate and is certainly in the same league as the 1998, 2000, 2005, 2009, 2010, and 2015. A blend of 54% Merlot, 40% Cabernet Franc, and the rest Cabernet Sauvignon, its deep purple color is followed by a thrillingly complex bouquet of red and black fruits, smoked herbs, liquid flowers, and incense. Possessing medium to full body, flawless integration of its fruit, tannins, and acidity, a terrific mid-palate, and a great finish, it shows the sunny, sexy style of the vintage yet has incredible purity and precision at the same time. It will be accessible with just short-term cellaring yet evolve for 30-40 years.