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

Château Cheval Blanc, 1er Grand Cru Classé, St Emilion, 2011




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Château Cheval Blanc, 1er Grand Cru Classé, St Emilion, 2011


Justerini & Brooks Tasting note

Château Cheval Blanc, 1er Grand Cru Classé, St Emilion, 2011

Tasted in the new 13€ million winery, the 2011 Cheval Blanc is rather more graceful than the lines of the new construction. It is a rather gleaming and magnificent interior, which will no doubt push the qualitative bar even higher, but close neighbours may be saying the French equivalent of NIMBY... Produced from 54% Merlot and 46% Cabernet Franc, this was one of the superstars of the appellation, even the vintage. Perfumed bouquet of minerals, cut flowers, graphite, stones and crème de cassis. This really is very mineral and speaks of its finer terroir. On the palate it is linear, racy and ripe with a haunting finesse. Flavours develop in the glass and on the palate as some decadent red cherries, violets and dark chocolate notes come to the fore. There is a wonderfully persistent perfume and tremendous length to this athletic beauty. Another sensational Cheval which proves that if you have great terroir, you don't need to force extractions to create a vin de garde. Outstanding.

Jane Anson, Inside Bordeaux

Plenty of grip at 10 years old, but as with many of the bigger wines in the 2011 vintage, it is fairly closed right now, after a good number of years when it felt approachable. I would suggest leaving it for another five years to let these tannins soften and the peony aromatics fully emerge. It does soften after a double carafing (I tried this both from bottle and later over food), when the violet and precisely-drawn raspberry and redcurrant notes take the lead. Cabernet Franc dominant right now, but it lacks a little generosity at this stage of its life. 64% first wine.
Date Reviewed:
Lisa Perrotti-Brown, The Wine Independent

The 2011 Cheval Blanc has a deep garnet-brick color. The nose is redolent of tar, fertile loam, licorice, and prunes, giving way to a core of fruitcake, new leather, and black truffles. The palate is full-bodied, rich, and concentrated with earthy nuances coming through on the long finish.
Date Reviewed:
Neal Martin, Vinous

The 2011 Cheval Blanc has an elegant, quite refined bouquet with brambly red fruit, scorched earth, terracotta and sage, very complex and harmonious. Could this be Figeac? [Post-script. No, but not far off!] The palate is medium-bodied with rounded tannins, quite plush and sensual, rich for this vintage with plenty of concentrated, quite sweet and spicy, hoisin-tinged fruit on the precise finish. This is a very fine Saint-Émilion. Tasted blind at the annual 10-Year-On tasting.
Date Reviewed:






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Allergen Information:
This product may contain sulphites. Full allergen information is available upon request, please call our Customer Relations Team on +44 (0)20 7484 6430.

Château Cheval Blanc

Château Cheval Blanc

Classified as one of the two original 1er Grand Cru Classe “A”s of St Emilion (the other being Ausone), Cheval Blanc is one of the most recognised and revered names of Bordeaux.

Archives prove that vines have been grown on the site of Cheval Blanc since the 15th century. The inception of Cheval Blanc as we know it today can be traced back to 1832, when Jean-Jacques Ducasse, President of the Libourne Trade Tribunal, purchased the core of the holdings. Over the next twenty years, additional purchases from neighbouring Château Figeac completed the 39 hectare vineyard that has remained virtually unchanged.

“Located in the commune of Saint-Emilion, but bordering on Pomerol, the estate consists of 39 hectares divided into forty-five plots. Each one is, to a certain extent, treated like a separate vineyard because of the differences in the age of the vines, grape variety, soil type, etc. The combination of these many facets accounts for Cheval Blanc’s great complexity”.

Bernard Arnault and Baron Albert Frère purchased Cheval Blanc from the Hebrard family in 1998. This proved to be a major turning point. The new owners built on the achievements of Pierre Lurton, injecting a dynamic new spirit as well as much needed financial investment. This is epitomised by the construction of the Christian de Portzamparc designed cellars, which although completed in 2011, still looks futuristic and cutting edge.

“What makes Cheval Blanc so unusual is three main soil types – fine textured with clay, more coarsely textured with gravel, and large gravel with sand – that constitute a veritable patchwork. This singular terroir is made up primarily of clay and large-size gravel in certain plots and sandy soil with smaller gravel in other parts. Some estates in Saint-Emilion have excellent gravelly soil, while others in Saint-Emilion and Pomerol have very good clay soils. Cheval Blanc, on the other hand, is blessed with both types of soil in fairly equal proportions”.

Pierre-Olivier Clouet and Arnaud de Laforcade manage the estate, ensuring that no detail is overlooked. This is the ultimate in precision wine-making, but with a sound philosophical approach and a determination to produce something that they would like to drink. They simply try to reflect their terroir and the climatic conditions of any given vintage as best they can. They don’t try to fight the elements or leave their own mark. Unlike many wines from the surrounding area, they have the challenge and luxury of a variety of terroirs, planted with 52% Cabernet Franc, 43% Merlot, and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon.

“Each plot has its own specific profile due to the age of the vines, surface area, kind of soil, type of rootstock and grape variety, etc. Therefore, it only follows that the wine produced from each plot has its own profile too… The ones from clay soil are powerful with velvety tannin, while the ones from gravel soil are more aromatic and elegant. A blend of both results in a wine that is both powerful and elegant with expressive aromatics as well as the complexity of the greatest wines.”

By blending multiple plots, Cheval Blanc gains complexity. Pierre-Olivier uses a musical analogy. As with an orchestra, the sum of all the components is far more impressive and nuanced than only one section. If one plot is playing out of tune, it is removed, but ideally, as with the 2015, each plot has the potential to bring something unique and build a more multifaceted, more complete expression of Cheval Blanc.

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