This thoroughbred of St Emilion, Ch Cheval Blanc, was released this morning at £3,200 per 6 In Bond.
Cheval Blanc has made two excellent wines this year, as 2016 saw the return of their second wine, Le Petit Cheval. The Grand Vin blew us away when we tasted it in the newly renovated tasting room. The Cabernet Franc component provides a wonderful line of distinction and the Merlot adds a delicious degree of sweetness and volume. The tightly knit tannins provide greater depth and persistence on the finish.
Yields were up this year to 40 hl/ha, quite high for the estate, which allowed them to make two well-balanced wines considering the severe drought conditions and heat experienced during the summer months. The vines growing on clay and sandy soils did not experience severe water stress as they could draw from their water reserves during the dry period from July 1st to harvest time.
“It is an absolutely stunning wine in every way”
96-99 points, Antonio Galloni
“This is a classic and intellectual Cheval Blanc”
97-99 points, Neal Martin
Ch Cheval Blanc 1er Grand Cru Classé St Emilion 2016
£3,200 per 6 bottles IB
This extraordinary St Emilion is never the showiest during the primeur tastings, but its class this year could not be questioned. A classical blend of 60% Merlot, 37% Cabernet Franc and 3% Cabernet Sauvignon. Refined and beautifully subtle with berry and currant aromas. The Cabernet Franc component provides a wonderful line of distinction and the Merlot adds a delicious degree of sweetness and volume. The tightly knit tannins provide greater depth and persistence on the finish. Drink 2024-2039. 96-98 points, Goedhuis & Co
It has a very pure, correct and quite penetrating bouquet with black cherries, blackcurrant, graphite and a touch of wild mint. It is bashful at first but opens with confidence with aeration (incidentally, I allowed my sample 40 minutes to open). The palate is medium-bodied with filigree tannin and a killer line of acidity that imparts so much freshness from the starting gun. That soupçon on Cabernet Sauvignon does make a difference, lending a subtle vein of graphite that runs throughout the wine. It remains linear, with laser-like focus towards the extraordinarily persistent finish, pencil lead on the “HB” aftertaste. This is a classic and intellectual Cheval Blanc, not as charming perhaps as the 2015 Cheval Blanc, but it will unquestionably age gracefully over decades not years. Drink Date 2024 – 2060. 97-99 points, Neal Martin
A wine of precision and extraordinary beauty, the 2016 Cheval Blanc is also one of the highlights of the year. In the glass, it is precise, delicate and understated. Hints of espresso, plum, spice and wild cherry all develop in the glass, but it is the wine’s feel and vivid personality that stand out most. I expect the 2016 will put on weight during its aging, both in barrel and later in bottle. It is an absolutely stunning wine in every way. 96-99 points, Antonio Galloni
This is very powerful Cheval with searing tannins and bright fruit, acidity and mineral undertones. Full and muscular yet beautifully formed and polished. It’s all about the form to this. Better than 2015. 98-99 points, James Suckling