Château Cheval Blanc, 1er Grand Cru Classé, St Emilion, 2012

  Château Cheval Blanc

The Cheval Blanc team worked hard in the vineyard throughout July and August. After veraison, any green fruit was dropped to help the vines ripen the berries that had changed colour. 35 of the 45 plots at the estate were used in the grand vin including a 1.4 hectare site that used to form part of Tour du Pin. This vineyard has been classified 1er Grand Cru Classé 'A' and has been added to the Cheval Blanc estate, the first acquisition since 1871. The final blend is 54% Merlot and 46% Cabernet Franc. Quite closed and reserved initially, but after some coaxing one can glimpse into this brooding, sleek, monolith. Liquid minerals and a medley of dark liqueur fruit dominate, interspersed with anise, Asian spice, cedar and cigar box. The palate is packed with griotte liqueur, bilberries and graphity minerality. This is an example of perfectionist winemaking; the fruit is pure velvet and the tannins are those of the finest Cabernet. Sleek, refined, powerful and hugely impressive. A fantastic Cheval Blanc.

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.