Chateau Cheval Blanc (Futures Pre-Sale) 2017
Blend: 56% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Franc and 14% Cabernet Sauvignon
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
This is a special Cheval-Blanc with blackcurrants, blueberries and hints of fresh herbs, tobacco and cedar. Full-bodied, very powerful and muscular with lots of tannins. The higher percentage of cabernet sauvignon (15% instead of 5%) makes it structured. Give it time to come together. Better after 2022.
While the blend is shifted more towards Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon in 2017, the Chateau Cheval Blanc is nevertheless a beautiful wine in every sense and shows the hallmark elegance and complexity of this estate perfectly. Deep ruby/purple, with notes of ripe dark fruits, violets, rose petals, and spice, it hits the palate with medium to full-bodied richness, ripe yet integrated tannins, terrific mid-palate concentration, and a great, great finish. Based on 66% Merlot, 29% Cabernet Franc, and 15% Cabernet Sauvignon, give this incredibly floral, seamless 2017 5-7 years of bottle age and enjoy over the following two decades.
Singed tobacco leaf and savory aromas lead the way, giving this red a distinctive profile, while dark currant, fig and blackberry paste flavors form the core. Shows a loamy backdrop and a hint of cast iron throughout, with the fruit and savory elements keeping pace. Ends with prominent tannic grip. For the cellar. Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon. Best from 2024 through 2042.
With an unusually high percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon, this vintage presents a structured character. It is a straight wine, in line with dark tannins and black-currant fruits lightened by the jammy Merlot berry flavors. Drink this wine from 2024
Barrel Sample: 93-95
A blend of 52% Merlot and 48% Cabernet Franc, the medium to deep garnet-purple 2017 Le Petit Cheval strides confidently out of the glass with notes of baked black cherries, blueberry preserves and warm plums plus wafts of tilled soil, chargrill and Marmite toast with a hint of cardamom. Medium-bodied, the palate is very tightly knit at this stage with lovely tension defining the earth-laced black fruits, finishing minerally with a bit of chew.
The present-day Cheval Blanc vineyards had vines at least as far back as the 18th century, as shown by Belleyme's map of the region dated 1764. Nearly a century later, the estate was acquired by the Fourcaud-Laussac family who owned it until 1998, when it was sold to Mr Bernard Arnault and Baron Albert Frère.
The vineyard is in a single block, and borders on the Pomerol appellation. An outstanding terror and unusual proportions of Cabernet Franc and Merlot give this great wine an absolutely unique flavor. Chateau Cheval Blanc has had a greater number of outstanding vintages than any other classified great growth over the past century.
Another unusual characteristic of Cheval Blanc is that once it reaches its peak, it maintains it for a very long time. This admirable wine is powerful, soft, rich, round and silky. It has tremendous fruit and elegance as well as exceptional quality from year to year.
Marked by its historic fortified village—perhaps the prettiest in all of Bordeaux, the St-Émilion appellation, along with its neighboring village of Pomerol, are leaders in quality on the Right Bank of Bordeaux. These Merlot-dominant red wines (complemented by various amounts of Cabernet Franc and/or Cabernet Sauvignon) remain some of the most admired and collected wines of the world.
St-Émilion has the longest history in wine production in Bordeaux—longer than the Left Bank—dating back to an 8th century monk named Saint Émilion who became a hermit in one of the many limestone caves scattered throughout the area.
Today St-Émilion is made up of hundreds of independent farmers dedicated to the same thing: growing Merlot and Cabernet Franc (and tiny amounts of Cabernet Sauvignon). While always roughly the same blend, the wines of St-Émilion vary considerably depending on the soil upon which they are grown—and the soils do vary considerably throughout the region.
The chateaux with the highest classification (Premier Grand Cru Classés) are on gravel-rich soils or steep, clay-limestone hillsides. There are only four given the highest rank, called Premier Grand Cru Classés A (Chateau Cheval Blanc, Ausone, Angélus, Pavie) and 14 are Premier Grand Cru Classés B. Much of the rest of the vineyards in the appellation are on flatter land where the soils are a mix of gravel, sand and alluvial matter.
Great wines from St-Émilion will be deep in color, and might have characteristics of blackberry liqueur, black raspberry, licorice, chocolate, grilled meat, earth or truffles. They will be bold, layered and lush.
One of the world’s most classic and popular styles of red wine, Bordeaux-inspired blends have spread from their homeland in France to nearly every corner of the New World. Typically based on either Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot and supported by Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot, the best of these are densely hued, fragrant, full of fruit and boast a structure that begs for cellar time. Somm Secret—Blends from Bordeaux are generally earthier compared to those from the New World, which tend to be fruit-dominant.