Château Cheval Blanc

St. Émilion 1er Grand Cru Classé Red Bordeaux Blend

9.42 ratings
9.51 pro ratings
St. Émilion, Libournais, Bordeaux, France
Red Bordeaux Blend
Chili & Hot Spicy, Potato, White Rice, Mushrooms, Pasta, Pork, Salami & Prosciutto, Pungent Cheese, Lamb, Tomato-Based, Onion, Shallot, Garlic, Beef, Hard Cheese, Venison
Top Notes For
David T

Independent Sommelier/Wine Educator

9.5

On the nose, it's pure elegance. Kirsch cherries, ripe blackberries, dark cherries, plums, poached strawberries, raspberries haunt the background, vanilla, very light and soft spice, candied moist black earth, fresh violets and liquid, fresh, slightly perfumed red/dark florals. The full body is smooth, sexy and silky elegance. The tannins are round, beautiful and 65-70% resolved. The dark cherries and cherries roll the eyes back in the head. OMG! The fruits are simply garden of Eden beautiful. Poached strawberries, creamy black and regular raspberries, ripe black plum, overly extracted pomegranate, dry cranberries, soft, delicate top soil/dry clay, limestone, crushed dry rock powder, dry stones, black cherry cola/licorice, hint of anise, light notes of dry herbs, fresh tobacco leaf, sweet, dark, moist, turned earth, lead pencil shavings, rich, round mouthwatering acidity and a rich, elegant cherry driven finish that doesn't stop and I will not forget. Cheval Blanc is not a classified First Growth but on my palate it qualifies as such. Glorious bottle! I've had the 05 & 10 early. It will certainly out do this 2001 but not today. Photos of; the historical Cheval Blanc; which I prefer. I love the Bordeaux history. The new and modern 20 Million dollar addition. Shots of the cellar...the new concrete and stainless state of the art fermentation tanks. Producer notes and history...The name Cheval Blanc translates into white horse. The Chateau's history in St. Emilion traces back to 1832. It was the year the Ducasse family purchased land from Chateau Figeac. Prior to it being know as Cheval Blanc, the vineyard was better known as Le Barrail de Cailloux, which loosely translates into "barrel of tiny stones." Of course, the inspiration from the terroir's unique gravely soils. The original vines purchased from Figeac became what many people think is the best wine of St. Emilion, Chateau Cheval Blanc. For the most part, I agree with that. Back in 1832, Chateau Figeac was owned by Countess Felicité de Carle-Trajet. At that time, Chateau Figeac had grown to a massive 200 hectare estate; which is huge by St. Emilion standards. It was the Countess who decided to sell portions of their holdings. The breakup of the larger Figeac estate helped create a myriad of new St. Emilion wine making estates; which explains why so many Chateauxs include the word Figeac as part of their name. However, the owners of what was to become Cheval Blanc wanted to establish their own identity that was separate from Figeac. In 1838, the Ducasse family purchased what was to became the majority of Cheval Blanc. Some of the vines were previously part of Figeac. They began buying more St. Emilion vineyard land to create Chateau Cheval Blanc. In 1852, Mille Ducasse married Jean Laussac-Fourcaud, she came with a dowry that included their recently acquired Bordeaux vineyards that included 2 of the 5 gravel mounds running through the vineyards of Cheval Blanc and Figeac. Pretty amazing dowry! The Laussac-Fourcaud family built the chateau that is still in use today. The Laussac-Fourcaud continued to add holdings and increasing the size of the Cheval Blanc vineyards. By 1871, they accumulated a total of 41 hectares of vineyards in Saint Emilion. Chateau Cheval Blanc remains that same size to this day. A number of years ago, Cheval Blanc spent a boat load of money on updating and renovating to a modern facility in a true modern fashion that drastically departed from its original existing historical structure. Cheval Blanc has always tried to be innovative. Around 1860, when the chateau for Cheval Blanc was being built, extensive work was also being done in the vineyards. In fact, even then, Chateau Cheval Blanc was at the forefront of vineyard management techniques when they added a vast network of drains in their vineyards. Chateau Cheval Blanc was probably the first estate in the Right Bank to install this type of drainage system. At first, Chateau Cheval Blanc sold their wine under the Figeac label. Once Chateau Cheval Blanc began winning medals for the quality in their wine, they changed their label. That change included placing pictures of their medals on the label, which is still featured on their label today. More importantly, the wines were now sold under the name of Chateau Cheval Blanc. Cheval Blanc continued gaining in popularity by producing some of the best wines in all of Bordeaux during the 1920’s, 1940’s and 1950’s. In 1998 Cheval Blanc was purchased by Bernard Arnault and Baron Albert Frere for a 135 million Euros. They asked Pierre Lurton to manage the property for them. Today, Pierre Lurton also manages their other estates, Chateau d’Yquem, Chateau La Tour du Pin and Quinault l’Enclos. 1991 was one of the most difficult vintages in Bordeaux history, Cheval Blanc did not produce a wine. #RESPECT! In 2009, LVMH purchased the shares owned by Bernard Arnault in a private transaction. There was no official announcement of the price. However, rumors placed the price at close to 15 Million Euros per hectare (€615,000,000), making this the most expensive transaction yet, on a per hectare purchase price in the history of Bordeaux. 2000, 2005, 2009 & 2010 were near perfect or perfect vintages for Cheval Blanc and again in 2015, they produced candidates for wine of the vintage. In that same year at an auction held by Christie’s, a scarce, six-liter bottle of the legendary 1947 Cheval Blanc, (Probably the only real bottle in existence) sold for a record setting price of $304,375 dollars! In 2011, with the help of famed architect and Pritzker Architecture Prize winner, Christian de Portzamparc, Chateau Cheval Blanc completed a major construction and renovation project. This remodeling included; building a new winery, barrel cellars, vinification room, tasting area and efforts with the landscaped gardens. Even though the structure is modern in design (sigh), this new cellar cost over $20,000,000. The 39 hectare vineyard of Cheval Blanc has a complex terroir that consists of 3 different soils. Even though the vineyards are in one large parcel, this can be divided up as follows: 40% of their soils are gravel over multiple types of clay, including blue clay. Another 40% of their terroir has deep gravel soils, while the remaining 20% of their soils consists of sandy clay in the soil. The vineyard of Chateau Cheval Blanc is planted to 49% Cabernet Franc, 47% Merlot, and 4% Cabernet Sauvignon today, but the goal is to return to the original mix of 55% Cabernet Franc, 40% Merlot and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon. The vines at Cheval Blanc are old, averaging 45 years of age. They have 8 hectares of Cabernet Franc planted in the 1950’s. However, some of the older parcels of Cabernet Franc are close to 100 years of age, as they were planted in 1920. Cheval Blanc vinification takes place in 52 different temperature controlled, cement vats that vary in size, due to the needs of specific parcels to allow for each parcel being vinified in its own tank. Malolactic Fermentation takes place in tank. The wines are aged in 100% new, French oak barrels for close to 18 months before bottling. @ FL Yountville

On the nose, it's pure elegance. Kirsch cherries, ripe blackberries, dark cherries, plums, poached strawberries, raspberries haunt the background, vanilla, very light and soft spice, candied moist black earth, fresh violets and liquid, fresh, slightly perfumed red/dark florals. The full body is smooth, sexy and silky elegance. The tannins are round, beautiful and 65-70% resolved. The dark cherries and cherries roll the eyes back in the head. OMG! The fruits are simply garden of Eden beautiful. Poached strawberries, creamy black and regular raspberries, ripe black plum, overly extracted pomegranate, dry cranberries, soft, delicate top soil/dry clay, limestone, crushed dry rock powder, dry stones, black cherry cola/licorice, hint of anise, light notes of dry herbs, fresh tobacco leaf, sweet, dark, moist, turned earth, lead pencil shavings, rich, round mouthwatering acidity and a rich, elegant cherry driven finish that doesn't stop and I will not forget. Cheval Blanc is not a classified First Growth but on my palate it qualifies as such. Glorious bottle! I've had the 05 & 10 early. It will certainly out do this 2001 but not today. Photos of; the historical Cheval Blanc; which I prefer. I love the Bordeaux history. The new and modern 20 Million dollar addition. Shots of the cellar...the new concrete and stainless state of the art fermentation tanks. Producer notes and history...The name Cheval Blanc translates into white horse. The Chateau's history in St. Emilion traces back to 1832. It was the year the Ducasse family purchased land from Chateau Figeac. Prior to it being know as Cheval Blanc, the vineyard was better known as Le Barrail de Cailloux, which loosely translates into "barrel of tiny stones." Of course, the inspiration from the terroir's unique gravely soils. The original vines purchased from Figeac became what many people think is the best wine of St. Emilion, Chateau Cheval Blanc. For the most part, I agree with that. Back in 1832, Chateau Figeac was owned by Countess Felicité de Carle-Trajet. At that time, Chateau Figeac had grown to a massive 200 hectare estate; which is huge by St. Emilion standards. It was the Countess who decided to sell portions of their holdings. The breakup of the larger Figeac estate helped create a myriad of new St. Emilion wine making estates; which explains why so many Chateauxs include the word Figeac as part of their name. However, the owners of what was to become Cheval Blanc wanted to establish their own identity that was separate from Figeac. In 1838, the Ducasse family purchased what was to became the majority of Cheval Blanc. Some of the vines were previously part of Figeac. They began buying more St. Emilion vineyard land to create Chateau Cheval Blanc. In 1852, Mille Ducasse married Jean Laussac-Fourcaud, she came with a dowry that included their recently acquired Bordeaux vineyards that included 2 of the 5 gravel mounds running through the vineyards of Cheval Blanc and Figeac. Pretty amazing dowry! The Laussac-Fourcaud family built the chateau that is still in use today. The Laussac-Fourcaud continued to add holdings and increasing the size of the Cheval Blanc vineyards. By 1871, they accumulated a total of 41 hectares of vineyards in Saint Emilion. Chateau Cheval Blanc remains that same size to this day. A number of years ago, Cheval Blanc spent a boat load of money on updating and renovating to a modern facility in a true modern fashion that drastically departed from its original existing historical structure. Cheval Blanc has always tried to be innovative. Around 1860, when the chateau for Cheval Blanc was being built, extensive work was also being done in the vineyards. In fact, even then, Chateau Cheval Blanc was at the forefront of vineyard management techniques when they added a vast network of drains in their vineyards. Chateau Cheval Blanc was probably the first estate in the Right Bank to install this type of drainage system. At first, Chateau Cheval Blanc sold their wine under the Figeac label. Once Chateau Cheval Blanc began winning medals for the quality in their wine, they changed their label. That change included placing pictures of their medals on the label, which is still featured on their label today. More importantly, the wines were now sold under the name of Chateau Cheval Blanc. Cheval Blanc continued gaining in popularity by producing some of the best wines in all of Bordeaux during the 1920’s, 1940’s and 1950’s. In 1998 Cheval Blanc was purchased by Bernard Arnault and Baron Albert Frere for a 135 million Euros. They asked Pierre Lurton to manage the property for them. Today, Pierre Lurton also manages their other estates, Chateau d’Yquem, Chateau La Tour du Pin and Quinault l’Enclos. 1991 was one of the most difficult vintages in Bordeaux history, Cheval Blanc did not produce a wine. #RESPECT! In 2009, LVMH purchased the shares owned by Bernard Arnault in a private transaction. There was no official announcement of the price. However, rumors placed the price at close to 15 Million Euros per hectare (€615,000,000), making this the most expensive transaction yet, on a per hectare purchase price in the history of Bordeaux. 2000, 2005, 2009 & 2010 were near perfect or perfect vintages for Cheval Blanc and again in 2015, they produced candidates for wine of the vintage. In that same year at an auction held by Christie’s, a scarce, six-liter bottle of the legendary 1947 Cheval Blanc, (Probably the only real bottle in existence) sold for a record setting price of $304,375 dollars! In 2011, with the help of famed architect and Pritzker Architecture Prize winner, Christian de Portzamparc, Chateau Cheval Blanc completed a major construction and renovation project. This remodeling included; building a new winery, barrel cellars, vinification room, tasting area and efforts with the landscaped gardens. Even though the structure is modern in design (sigh), this new cellar cost over $20,000,000. The 39 hectare vineyard of Cheval Blanc has a complex terroir that consists of 3 different soils. Even though the vineyards are in one large parcel, this can be divided up as follows: 40% of their soils are gravel over multiple types of clay, including blue clay. Another 40% of their terroir has deep gravel soils, while the remaining 20% of their soils consists of sandy clay in the soil. The vineyard of Chateau Cheval Blanc is planted to 49% Cabernet Franc, 47% Merlot, and 4% Cabernet Sauvignon today, but the goal is to return to the original mix of 55% Cabernet Franc, 40% Merlot and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon. The vines at Cheval Blanc are old, averaging 45 years of age. They have 8 hectares of Cabernet Franc planted in the 1950’s. However, some of the older parcels of Cabernet Franc are close to 100 years of age, as they were planted in 1920. Cheval Blanc vinification takes place in 52 different temperature controlled, cement vats that vary in size, due to the needs of specific parcels to allow for each parcel being vinified in its own tank. Malolactic Fermentation takes place in tank. The wines are aged in 100% new, French oak barrels for close to 18 months before bottling. @ FL Yountville

Sep 10th, 2017
Karen Allison

Karen had this 5 years ago

Karen had this 5 years ago

Mar 26th, 2017