Château Cheval Blanc, 1er Grand Cru Classé, St Emilion, 2016

  Château Cheval Blanc

Blending is a big job at Cheval. The estate is split into 45 plots, all of which are vinified individually. Every effort is made in the vineyard to achieve the best possible results from their diverse array of terroir. Once vinifications have started, Pierre-Olivier Clouet and his team taste each plot every day. That's a lot of tasting. We were lucky to taste a dozen samples with Pierre-Olivier and Arnaud in October - it was fascinating to see how each plot has such a unique character. Only with an intimate knowledge of each plot and such regular tasting can they judge when to stop macerations. Like many other top estates, the philosophy is to stop before coarse flavours are extracted. And then this process is continued; tasting every day, understanding the qualities of each plot, and building up an image of the final wine. They build complexity through diversity, and the 2016 Cheval Blanc is an ensemble of 33 plots. As with the Petit Cheval, this is all grace, charm and refinement, however, there is a serious, complex and large-scale wine lurking beneath. Somewhat introverted aromatically, but with coaxing a stunning bouquet of flowers, fresh pine cones, eucalyptus, cool cassis and crushed rocks emerges. Noble flavours of pure raspberry, crème de cassis and loganberry captivate the palate. Wave after wave of sumptuous, but reserved fruit, washes over the palate and lingers persistently on the mineral infused tannins. There is more than a hint of classicism and so much potential; this has a very bright and long future ahead.

Contains Sulphites.

About Château Cheval Blanc

Cheval Blanc (like its neighbour and parent, Figeac) stands out in St Emilion for two reasons: first, it is geographically removed from the principal concentration of great names that cluster around the town itself, neighbouring the vines of L’Evangile to the west, and in fact it shares more with the gravelly topography and terroir of the Pomerol plateau than that of St Emilion. Secondly, the vineyard is made up in large part of Cabernet Franc (57%, with 41% Merlot and some small plots of Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon), compared to the predominantly Merlot plantings of the rest of this appellation. The property began life as a scion of the great Figeac estate, whose origins are among the oldest in Bordeaux. In more recent times, the property belonged to the Hebrard family but was sold in 1998, for want of an agreement between shareholders, to the LVMH fashion house. Pierre Lurton manages the estate, and it is his job also to run Ch d’Yquem in Sauternes. Classified as one of only two 1er Grand Cru Classe “A” (the other being Ausone), Cheval Blanc has produced many legendary vintages and a vertical tasting through the 20th century will prove how well these wines age: even the lighter vintages can maintain their balance for 50 years or more. As any wine lover will know, this property is also responsible for producing what many believe to be the most remarkable wine of the modern era, Cheval Blanc 1947. Though it was bottled in various places and can be volatile, the ’47 is port-like in its richness and remains vibrant, youthful and thrilling, 60 years after vintage.

Appellation: St Emilion

St-Émilion is a very different region to those of the Médoc, dominated by small-holding farmers and estates rather than grand Châteaux. Merlot is widely planted as is Cabernet Franc in some parts. The wines are enormously variable in style depending on the terroir, the grape variety make-up and winemaking style. Loosely the region is divided between the limestone Côtes, Graves or gravelly limestone plateau or the sandy alluvial soils nearer the Dordogne. Traditionally Médoc wines were trade from Bordeaux and St Emilions from Libourne so they have their own classification system separate to that of 1855. The classification is revised every ten years and falls into four categories, St Emilion, St Emilion Grand Cru, St Emilion Grand Cru Classé and St Emilion Premier Grand Cru Classé
Most of the district's best properties are either on the steep, clay-limestone hillsides immediately below the town or on a gravelly section of the plateau west of St Emilion itself abutting Pomerol. There are several high profile estates in the region, including Cheval Blanc, Ausone, Figeac, Le Dôme, Valandraud and Pavie.

Grape Blend: Merlot | Cab. Franc

Cabernet Franc with its unique herb infused red berry fragrance, adds backbone and acidity to the sensual, round favours of Merlot. This is as tried and tested combination used in the vast majority of serious St Emilion and Pomerol blends.