Château Cheval Blanc, 1er Grand Cru Classé, St Emilion, 2017

  Château Cheval Blanc

Alas, about 30% of the Cheval Blanc vineyards were affected by frost. The vineyard team had to react quickly to this traumatic event. Every frozen vine was marked and pruned a second time to encourage a second generation bunch. The second generation was roughly a month and a half behind the original bud break, but was helped by the beautiful summer weather. In some plots, there were two harvest separated by as much as 16 days. The second generation, although a tiny crop, was perfectly ripe and has been used in the blend of Cheval Blanc and Petit Cheval. There will be approximately 50,000 bottles of Grand Vin produced from a blend of 56% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Franc and 14% Cabernet Sauvignon. About 3% of the final blend comes from second generation fruit. Initially a little subdued, but with aeration aristocratic aromas of violets and cassis emerge. The palate is more pliable with glorious notes of pure raspberry, loganberry, crème de mûre and roses. This is very refined with a delicate complexity, a luxurious texture and layers of detailed fruit. There's something quite cerebral about the 2017 Cheval, it keeps on revealing subtle nuances. This is so engaging with a sappy, salty character, fine boned tannins and mouth-watering finish. Deftly done, superb!

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.