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The first bottle, though not obviously faulty, was not convincing. I asked for another one- a strain on the budget, but a great bonus for the tasters: fabulously complex and subtle nose, mellow, full-bodied, punchy and savoury palate with amazing complexity. The texture of the tannin is divine, the length wonderfully subtle. And yet I would advise to wait for the extra bonus spark that will come with age. From 2015-2020 and before 2050.
Tasted single blind at Southwold. This Cheval Blanc exceeds my lofty expectations at birth. It has a very ripe blueberry, cassis and violet tinged nose with superb definition, but very tight and in need of more aeration. Touches of smoky bacon from the Cabernet Franc. The palate has robust tannins, immense depth and concentration. This wine is like Aragorn cutting a swathe through a tribe of orcs. Who knew Pierre Lurton had that in him? Magnificent. Drink 2020-2050. Tasted January 2009.
The dense ruby/purple-hued 2005 Cheval Blanc’s ethereal bouquet of menthol, coffee, wet stones, black cherries, blackberries, and hints of graphite and spice soars from the glass. An equal part blend of Cabernet Franc and Merlot, it is medium to full-bodied with a gorgeous texture in addition to high tannins that glide over the palate with no angularity or astringency. While it does not quite reach the perfection of the 2000, it should rival the profound 1998 and 1990. This is not a Cheval Blanc for near-term drinking as it demands at least a decade’s worth of cellaring. Anticipated maturity: 2017-2035.
A fine nose here, quite vibrant and aromatic, a touch chalky, with pure red fruit character, elegant with cranberry and redcurrant characteristics. There is a gentle smokiness to it but it has a very restrained application of oak, and there are quiet nuances of liquorice and crunchy tar. Beautiful purity on the palate, very well defined and elegantly complete, balanced and light-footed, although with appropriate substance and a core of well judged tannins. Not a prodigious wine, but it has lift, vigour and definition on its side. It is very true to the Cheval Blanc style based on my tastings of older vintages, and this will be absolutely fine in 10-20 years time.
I am not sure what to say about the nose. It's so complex, with minerals, berries, wet earth and light vanilla. Turns to licorice and mint. Full-bodied, with amazing tannins and a long, long finish. This is so refined and long. Pure silk.
1st classified growth A. There are places in the world which are made exceptional by history and chance. Cheval Blanc is one example. In the 18th century, a large area of the current estate was covered in vines. This can be seen on a map drawn up by Bellayme in 1764. One century later, a period of slow renovation began. In 1871, adjacent plots were acquired, giving the vineyard its definitive layout, drainage system and planting of the Cabernet Franc variety. Were these simply experimental changes or visionary awareness of the potential of an outstanding soil? Chateau Cheval Blanc was acquired by Bernard Arnault (LVMH) and Baron Albert Frère, a rich Belgian businessman, in 1998. Powerful, without aggressiveness, spherical, silky, always with elegance and breed, a core of Cabernet Franc enveloped with Merlot, the wine of Cheval Blanc approaches the style of a Pomerol without resembling a Saint Emilion. With its freshness and cashmere-soft tannins, it ages marvelously, expressing the effect of its terroir, wich makes it more and more complex and subtle.
Owner: Bernard Arnault, Albert Frère
Administrator: Pierre Lurton
Manager: Pierre-Olivier Clouet & Nicolas Corporandy
Cellar master: Thierry Garraud
Vineyard manager: Jean-Claude David
Oenologist: Gilles Pauquet
Blend of the 2005 vintage: 55% Cabernet Franc, 45% Merlot
Ageing: 100% in new barrels during 18 month/s
Soil: Deep layer of gravelly-sandy soil, sandy-clay soil over compact blue clay, sandy-clay with pseudogley (iron desposit)
Area: 37 hectares
Average age of the vines: 35 years
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