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2015 1er Grand Cru Classé Saint Emilion

Colour Red
Origin France, Bordeaux
Sub-district Saint Emilion & Satellites
Village Saint Emilion
Classification 1er Grand Cru Classé

The management of Cheval Blanc decided this year that the quality was so homogeneous across all but two of the forty-one vineyard plots were worthy of being included in the Grand Vin. The remaining two were not enough to make a second wine, so that there is no Petit Cheval at all this year. The Grand Vin is therefore at least 90% of the total harvest and represents a yield of 29 hl /ha - low enough, in all conscience, without casting any aside into a second wine, so that may have influenced the decision. Others have said this is one of their wines of the vintage, but it did not sing to that extent for us. It's hard to say what is not here (see our introduction to the vintage), since so much clearly is. It is harmonious, rich, and setting aside a slightly odd flavour that appears at the entry and then fades, which might be a bit of over-enthusiastic cooperage in the sample, it is all beautifully balanced and goes on staying well in a very harmonious finish. Big and complete and luxuriously-textured as it is, it needs to find a little more personality to be a truly great first growth. Rating: 93-94 L&S (Apr 2016)

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Medium to deep garnet-purple colored, the 2015 Cheval Blanc is still incredibly primary at this very youthful stage. With coaxing, it unfurls to reveal beguiling notions of ripe black cherries, mulberries, licorice, baking spices and smoked meats with touches of incense and potpourri plus wafts of cast iron pan and crushed rocks. Full-bodied, very rich, very firm/taut and with very ripe, fine-grained tannins, it allows a glimpse at its incredible depth of flavors with a very long multi-layered finish. Wow. Drinking range: 2027 - 2067 Rating: 100 Lisa Perrotti-Brown, 2018)

Phenomenal aromas of cherries, flowers, blackberries and sandalwood. Pure fruit. Full-bodied, dense and polished with incredible tannin quality like the finest, densest silk ball. In perfect proportions. Compact. Seamless and endless. Gorgeous to taste now but give it six or seven years to understand it better. Rating: 99 James Suckling, 2018)

For the first time since 1988, there was no second wine (Petit Cheval) at Cheval Blanc, such was the team’s confidence in the quality of nearly all of the 45 parcels. It sounds like hubris, but this is very special indeed. Complex, scented and nuanced, with a cool elegance that was difficult to achieve in 2015. The tannins are silky, caressing the palate, while the finish lingers like the last note of a great string quartet. Drink: 2025-40 Drinking range: 2025 - 2040 Rating: 98 Tim Atkin MW, 2016)

55% Merlot, 45% Cabernet Franc. 34 days of picking, 3 September - 6 October! Historic long vintage. No Petit Cheval, so 90% of the crop went into this wine. Very sweet almost balsam nose. Very distinctive! Really fine with lovely tannins. Lots of ripe fruit and masses of tannin as well as ripeness. The alcohol is only just moderate enough. Very dramatic without being at all exaggerated. Some red pepper powder notes. 14.35% Drinking range: 2027 - 2050 Rating: 18.5+ Jancis Robinson MW OBE - 2016)

My Right Bank wine of the vintage and close to perfection. 55% Merlot and 45% Cabernet Franc, representing 90.5% of this year’s production (no Petit Cheval this year). Exudes elegance, class and precision. Dense, fresh, perfumed nose and the most velvety of textures. Remarkable quality of tannin allows a gentle attack then prodigious length and persistence. Nothing out of place. Drinking range: 2025 - 2050 Rating: 98 James Lawther MW, 2016)

The 2015 Cheval Blanc represents the entire vineyard this year, since there is no Le Petit Cheval (two plots that did not meet requirements were not included in any blend). A blend of 45% Cabernet Franc/Cabernet Sauvignon and 55% Merlot, matured in 100% new oak, it has a very complex bouquet, subtle and tightly wound, very precise with dark berry fruit, hints of graphite, minerals and a hint of black pepper, perhaps a little spicier than recent vintages. The palate is medium-bodied with extraordinarily fine tannin. Beautifully balanced, perfectly controlled, this Cheval Blanc gently builds in the mouth, but remains strict and precise. The Cabernet Franc here is very expressive (though apparently the Merlot was showier prior to malolactic). This is an intellectual Cheval Blanc, thoroughly enjoyable, but it will need 10-12 years to really show its pedigree. A profound wine in the making, it will rank with the great wines of the past. Drinking range: 2025 - 2055 Rating: 97-99 Neal Martin, 2016)

A Cheval with a depth and finesse that reminds me of the 1998. Full body, ultra-fine tannins and amazing length and beauty. Such finesse and harmony. Super silky and classic for Cheval Blanc. Rating: 96-97 James Suckling, 2016)

A vintage that will go down in history at Cheval Blanc, the year they decided everything - well, almost everything - was of grand vin quality. Only two parcels were rejected, so 39 parcels contributed to this wine, and there will be no Petit Cheval this year. The blend is 45% Cabernet Franc and 55% Merlot, another blend which shows the perceived value of both Cabernet and Merlot in this vintage. The first Merlots were picked September 3rd, very early, picking coming to an end on October 6th, the longest (and presumably most relaxed) harvest ever at Cheval Blanc. The barrel sample has a very dark, pure, spicy character on the nose, very perfumed with the Cabernet Franc showing through with a rose-petal fragrance. This is matched by the palate with a very pure, elegant, spiced seam of fruit, fresh and poised, with a very ripe tannic backbone, fine and pencil-drawn, but with a spicy, energetic feel to it. Despite its elegance there is no shortage of convincing fruit character here transmitting the warmth of the vintage, with notes of griddled dark cherry fruit, grilled almonds and toasted grape pips. This is complex, harmonious, with really restrained force and elegance combined. A very impressive wine, with ripe and poised tannins lingering in the finish. Sheer class here, combining brooding potential and elegance. Rating: 18-19/20 Chris Kissack, 2016)

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.

This wine isn't currently part of a mixed case, but you can always browse our full selection of mixed cases here.
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