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Cheval Blanc

2000 Le Petit Cheval. This wine is quite plummy on the nose with a hint of chocolates, displaying solid red and dark fruits with chewy tannins and fine acidity, fleshy but not plump, finishing well. Carries the traits of its grand vin without the lushness. Tasted January 2017.

1975 Château Cheval Blanc. Fully mature, opening with a bouquet of mild earthy pungency coupled with a gentle rosy fragrance that was highly enticing, effortless and persistent, a hallmark of aged clarets. On the palate, the wine displayed a feminine elegance with good complexity, concentration and purity of fruit, not showy at all, remarkably poised and balanced but holding up very well. Not at all in danger of fading, proving the longevity of cabernet franc. Tasted September 2016 over lunch at the château.

1975 Château Cheval Blanc. Poured from ex-chateau double magnum. Dark dirty red, earthy with some mild pungency amidst mature red fruits. Medium-bodied. Still displaying great acidity and good concentration against a backdrop of tea leaves and dryish textures, eventually developing a glorious glow with mild overtones of tobacco, chocolate, old leather and gentle graphite elements, becoming quite sublime, holding well all the way till the end of the evening. Highly consistent with a standard bottle tasted at the château itself in September 2016 though that was slightly lighter and more feminine with red fruits that appear to be more evolved. Absolutely superb. Tasted February 2017.

1982 Château Cheval Blanc. Clear vermillion with a deep garnet core. Absolutely beguiling in its effusive deep seductive bouquet of rosy floral fragrance and red cherries. Softly rounded and open with a highly even palatal tone underscored by a very fine earthy base, remarkably fresh and highly understated in its gentle minerally finish. Most delicious and delectable. Tasted September 2019.

1983 Château Cheval Blanc. Fully mature but still showing good color with a lovely feminine fragrance of camphor and rose petals, very open with a great kaleidoscope of flavours that kept evolving in the glass with fabulous definition, depth and subtle intensity, displaying great linearity throughout its superb length. There is a special reason why Cheval Blanc favours cabernet franc as its predominant grape and that it takes at least thirty years for its full potential to be appreciated in bottle. Outstanding. Tasted November 2016.

1988 Château Cheval Blanc. Poured from jeroboam. Well evolved in color, this wine exudes a very lovely nose awashed in delicious floral fragrances with sweet incense and ash. Rather high-toned on the palate where red fruits, camphor and minerals still hold firm with seamless tannins amidst traces of port-like character, finishing a tad short. Excellent, but still a notch below the Cheval Blanc of 1983, 1982 and 1975. Tasted June 2017.

1989 Château Cheval Blanc. Poured from double magnum. Good color. Aromas and textures of dry mushrooms and forest floor dominate with an attractive earthy pungency. Highly supple, displaying a lovely glow of aged red fruits and currants swathed in excellent acidity, its tannins having melted over time, resulting in the emergence of a true cabernet franc character of excellent purity, just a shade darker. Excellent. Tasted December 2017 at FICOFI’s Les Palais des Grands Crus in Paris.

1989 Château Cheval Blanc. Fully mature, beautifully developed in autumnal flavours of haw, rose petals and strawberries that stoke the palate with refined subtle intensity, just a tad spicy at the sides, showing good definition with elegant charm and further herbal detail over time. Tasted November 2022.

1995 Château Cheval Blanc. Gentle red fruits with a light tangerine core, quite deft, exuding a lovely feminine fragrance with good acidity, integration and finish but far from ready. Tasted February 2017.

1996 Château Cheval Blanc. Displaying an evolved purplish red, this wine exuded a lovely glow of bright red fruits, cherries and camphor with a hint of earthy pungency that led to a superb presence on the palate. Still rather tight with a deep streak of ripe fruit amidst attractive secondary nuances, seamlessly structured with fine acidity and subtle minerals, turning more plummy with a complex rosy glow over time as more of its cabernet franc emerged to the fore. Distinctly feminine, but still yet to peak. Lovely! Tasted August 2017.

1997 Château Cheval Blanc. Reasonably aged at the rim with lovely notes of feminine rosy hues and soft plums amidst the classic Bordeaux character of dry leaves, mushrooms and snuff, displaying excellent integration, but definitely not the last word in depth nor complexity although it is certainly charming enough, and drinking very well. Tasted April 2013.

1998 Château Cheval Blanc. Deep crimson. Imbued with slightly darker shades dark plums and soy that caressed the palate with a lovely velvety richness. Open and highly supple, fleshing out with further notes of tea leaves as it exuded a lovely youthfulness that lasted the whole night. However, knowing the potential greatness of mature cabernet franc, I’d say this wine is still far from peaking. Tasted July 2019.

1999 Château Cheval Blanc. The color was an unattractive dusty red, but it gave off a bold, almost acerbic, bouquet of deep red fruits, plums, olives and wild mushrooms, giving an initial impression of fruit that was drying out, but it dawned upon me later that this was, of course, the predominant cabernet franc that was speaking. Quite intense and full-bodied, finishing strongly on a note of sweet cherries and raspberries, but the wine lacked the power, opulence and depth of the great vintages, even though it fleshed out more in the glass, becoming more seamless. Tasted December 2009.

1999 Château Cheval Blanc. Very lively and open with the distinctive note of camphor and a hint of vanilla from the predominant cabernet franc, highly harmonious with good concentration and subtle acidity, highly poised and composed. Beautiful. Tasted November 2016.

1999 Château Cheval Blanc. Displaying a deep ruby, this wine exudes a lovely deep fragrance of red fruits, cherries, currants and red plums amidst earthy undertones. Somewhat awkward on its initial entry but it opened up to reveal bright tones on the fleshy palate, imbued with saline minerals amidst a rich presence of ripe fruits though it turned rather stern quite quickly as firm tannins exerted their presence. Good stuff, but requires more cellaring. Tasted January 2018.

2000 Château Cheval Blanc. Dark crimson. There’s some early evolution and complexity on the nose, dominated by earthy tones, ripe dark berries, black fruits and soy. Highly supple, fleshy and lithe on the open palate characterised by a full plummy tone with lovely secondary nuances and good complexity, showing great transparency and balance. Developing very well but still youthful, far from its full potential. Tasted November 2018.

2001 Château Cheval Blanc. Tasted right after a 2001 Pavie, the Cheval Blanc of the same vintage stood its ground, opening with notes of almonds and white chocolate complemented by a superb bouquet of complex red fruits, soy, incense and ash on the palate, medium-bodied, open, lush and very well balanced, the 40% cabernet franc imparting a distinct feminine character to the wine. Outstanding. Tasted April 2016.

2001 Château Cheval Blanc. Shy at first, just faintly delicious in spite of the deep purple that promised an abundance of fruit beneath though its attack on the palate was rather minerally with a lovely expanse, layered with ripe berries and dark cherries, poised with great elegance and finesse. A feminine beauty still in its adolescence that should blossom beautifully at its peak maturity another decade on. Tasted October 2017.

2001 Château Cheval Blanc. Deep impenetrable purple, exuding some earthy pungency amid abundant dark fruits and currants that is well-replicated on the palate. Full with ripe open intensity, infused with darker notes of soy and bramble. Rounded with lovely suppleness, displaying some early maturity with a slight earthiness towards the finish but this is still a young wine. Tasted November 2019.

2001 Château Cheval Blanc. This wine opens with a velvety depth of dark roses and cherries wrapped within a luxurious sheen of silky smooth tannins. Still rather full at this stage with a youthful vibrancy, showing good sophistication with a herbaceous trace. Drinking well but best to cellar another ten years for its cabernet franc to bloom. Tasted July 2021.

2004 Château Cheval Blanc. Poured from magnum. This wine opens with darker tones of blueberries and raspberries, striking an immediate classic poise in its medium-bodied proposition, displaying attractive subtlety and openness with an excellent streak of lively fruit, very lovely in balance, growing more seductive and exuberant on the nose as dinner wore on. Drinking very well now, something not unexpected of this classic vintage. Very enjoyable. Tasted June 2017.

2004 Château Cheval Blanc. Poured from magnum. This wine opens with gentle red fruits, dark currants and earthy tones tinged with truffles, more open and lighter than the preceding reds. Medium-bodied, rounded and fleshy, classically structured with good definition and linearity, finishing with gentle intensity, just missing the opulence from the best years. Drinking quite well but I’d let it rest another 3-5 years. Tasted November 2018.

2004 Château Cheval Blanc. From magnum. Very dark, from the depths of which arose a great glowing perfumed fragrance. Medium-full and quite brightly lit on the palate, rounded with smooth absolute linearity and layered with delicious presence, finishing well. Yet to differentiate at this stage. Do not waste. Tasted June 2019.

2004 Château Cheval Blanc. Lovely purplish hue, amply imbued with raspberries and currants still carrying a distinct note of vanillin on the fleshy medium-full palate. Beautifully supple and open, generously layered with warm ripe fruit though slightly narrow in dimension, turning brighter over time with emerging red fruits. Highly promising but not quite ready. Tasted April 2021.

2005 Château Cheval Blanc. Lovely soft floral fragrance of young red fruits, strawberries and raspberries with a deeper core of tangerines on the palate, quite harmonious with silky supple tannins, developing a mild earthiness after some time although, at this stage, the crisp acidity is rather intense. Yet to settle down but this wine will be long lived. Tasted September 2016 over lunch at the château.

2005 Château Cheval Blanc. Closed with barely a hint of dark fruits and raspberries though wide open on the palate, layered with excellent concentration of redcurrants and dark berries, well-integrated with great precision and detail yet highly understated, far from any secondary development. Will be outstanding but likely to evolve at a glacial pace. Tasted June 2017.

2006 Château Cheval Blanc. Poured from magnum. This wine exudes a powerful glow of red cherries allied with lifted tones of dark plums and bright mocha that led to a great concentration of glorious fruit, seamless with lovely intensity and sublime acidity amidst traces of vanilla, displaying excellent linearity throughout its wonderful length. Still youthful, but should be quite superb when ready. Tasted June 2017.

2006 Château Cheval Blanc. Dark crimson. More developed on the nose, displaying a lovely glow with a broad open expanse of dark red plums that imparted great concentration and fabulous intensity of fruit with  detailed finely-grained tannins amidst deeper tones of soy yet maintaining a lovely transparency in texture, becoming more and more approachable over time. However, knowing how wonderful Cheval Blanc can be given enough bottle age, the 2006 is far from ready although it is likely to reach its drinking window earlier than the 2009. Tasted November 2018.

2009 Château Cheval Blanc. This stellar vintage has endowed this wine with a great abundance of raspberries and blueberries with traces of enamel on the nose, obviously still tight on the palate though the cabernet franc is more evident here than in the preceding two wines as it glowed brighter over time with an emerging tone of red fruits and paraffin from its rich layers and depth, becoming more feminine, finishing with ferrous elements. Superb. Truly for the long long haul. Tasted June 2017.

2009 Château Cheval Blanc. Deep purple, exuding dense aromas of dark cherries, black fruits and dark currants with a great sense of depth. Surprisingly deft and silky smooth on the palate where traces of licorice and enamel are still evident, finishing with good length but this wine has hardly evolved. Not ready. Tasted November 2018.

2012 Château Cheval Blanc. Displaying a beautiful deep ruby, this wine had not been afforded the time to blossom on the nose, proffering just a hint of dark plums. The palate, however, was layered with wonderful depth of ripe dark fruits, earth and currants tinged with exotic spices and green pepper, quite sublime in acidity with a lovely glowing intensity, very elegantly integrated into the sheen of very fine soft silky tannins that tapered to a quiet finish. Accessible as it is, Cheval Blanc is not a wine to be drunk young. Made with substantial extraction, it is best drunk when the tannins have melted (at least 30 years post-vintage) whereupon the glorious rosy hues of its cabernet franc take on an almost Burgundian complex that gives Cheval Blanc its deserved fame. Tasted June 2019 at the château.

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