|Sub-district||Saint Emilion & Satellites|
|Classification||1er Grand Cru Classé|
54% Merlot, 46% Cabernet Franc. 'We should be able to produce 75% Grand Vin every year as the quality of the terroir is there' says technical director Pierre-Olivier Clouet. But lots of work was required in 2012. 'The flowering lasted a month, so a long green harvest was required at the end of the véraison (when the grapes turn colour) to ensure what was left was evenly ripe. This went on from the 7th to the 24th of August.' Quite high-toned. Floral and red fruit on the top of black fruit undertones. Supple and smooth with slightly granular tannins. Restrained elegance rather than pedal-pushing power. Not the plushness of recent top vintages but undeniably fine and long. Tannins build slowly, with a lovely sloe character in the fresh Cabernet on the long elegant finish. Rating: 94 L&S (Apr 2013)
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Medium to deep garnet colored, the 2012 Cheval Blanc reveals lovely cassis, warm black cherries and redcurrant jelly notions with underlying hints of cedar chest, garrigue, Indian spices and damp soil. Medium to full-bodied, it possesses wonderful energy and freshness on the palate with a beautifully poised ethereal nature and long mineral-tinged finish. This elegantly crafted beauty should enter its drinking window in a couple of years and cellar gracefully for another 20+ years. Drinking range: 2020 - 2040 Rating: 95+ Lisa Perrotti-Brown, RobertParker.com (Aug 2018)
The Grand Vin is a blend of 54% Merlot and 46% Cabernet Franc, 26th September until the 13th October that comes from 35 different parcels. The picking is done in the vineyard for the first sorting by the pickers and then sorted by hand as they are sure delicate than using optical sorting machine. It has a dense, broody nose that has the looming presence of the Quinault L’Enclos. It veers towards a red fruit profile, with “rocky” aromas, perhaps a touch of marmalade and quince. The palate is medium-bodied but displays very good concentration for the vintages. It feels very harmonious – silky but with a citric acid edge that lends the finish the tension it needs to maintain the freshness. This will probably become a masculine Cheval Blanc that will need a decade in bottle. Rating: 95-97 Neal Martin, www.vinous.com (May 2013)
The final blend for the 2012 Cheval Blanc was 54% Merlot and 46% Cabernet Franc. Despite the use of 100% new oak, there is not a hint of vanillin, toast or espresso notes in the aromatic bouquet, which is filled with scents of black currants, sweet cherries, lavender, forest floor and a hint of underbrush. Concentrated with a surprisingly lofty alcohol level of 13.9% as well as a tannin level that equals their 2010 (a wine bestowed a three-digit score), this full-bodied, opulent 2012 has a pH of 3.8, which accounts for its suppleness, velvety texture and heady richness. It is a great success in this vintage. It will be approachable early given its silky structural aspects, and should last for two decades. 2013 - 2033 Rating: 94-96 Robert Parker, The Wine Advocate, www.RobertParker.com (Apr 2013)
Château Cheval Blanc
Château Cheval Blanc sits at the pinnacle of the St Emilion meritocracy, unarguably alongside Château Ausone and arguably alongside Château Angélus and Château Pavie, the two estates elevated to Premier Grand Cru Classé (A) status in 2012. But, whilst the other three are clustered around the village of St Emilion, Cheval Blanc is far to the north-west and possibly only a St Emilion by accident of human geography. This is not classic St Emilion limestone and clay territory, Château Cheval Blanc (and neighbouring Figeac) sits on the gravel band that benefits its northerly neighbours across the road and across the border in Pomerol, namely Château Conseillante and Château l’Evangile. Next door Château Figeac was once a mighty estate of some 200ha, but by the early 19th Century the extravagances of the Comtesse de Carle-Trajet had taken their toll and large portions of the estate had to be sold off. Jean-Jacques Ducasse bought a plot of Figeac in 1832, and then a little bit more; his son-in-law, Jean Laussac-Fourcaud bought some more; and by 1871 Château Cheval Blanc had been carved out of the Figeac estate. Initially the wine was still sold as Château Figeac but from 1852 the name Château Cheval Blanc was used. The Laussac-Fourcaud family, morphing into the Fourcaud-Laussac family, owned Cheval Blanc until 1998. With the first classification of St Emilion’s vineyards in 1954, Cheval Blanc and Château Ausone were given special status as Premier Grand Cru Classé (A). New owners in 1998 brought Pierre Lurton in to manage Château Cheval Blanc, something he does alongside managing Château Yquem. A new space-age looking winery was completed in 2011. The 39ha of vineyards are planted to 58% Cabernet Franc and 42% Merlot, with an average age of 40 years. They were augmented by a 1.4ha block added from Château Tour du Pin in 2012. Another block of vines from Tour du Pin appear to be destined for white wine production.
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