Red, Ready, but will keep

2001 Ch. Cheval Blanc, St Emilion

2001 Ch. Cheval Blanc, St Emilion

Red | Ready, but will keep | Chateau Cheval Blanc | Code: 174 | 2001 | France > Bordeaux > St-Emilion | Cab.Sauvignon Blend | Medium-Full Bodied, Dry | 13.5 % alcohol

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Scores and Reviews

JANCIS

17.5/20

JANCIS - Excellent colour. Very, very lively. Not the most fragrant vintage of Cheval, but lovely texture. Very, very well balanced. Sumptuous texture and layers of dense flavour, but a chunky end. Quite chunky rather than mind-blowing. Inky tannins at the end.
Jancis Robinson - www.jancisrobinson.com - 22-Apr-2002

WA - I was surprised by how soft, opulent, even voluptuous the 2001 Cheval Blanc performed out of bottle as this estate’s wines tend to shut down when young. Its deep ruby/purple color was accompanied by sweet aromas of cranberries, black currants, menthol, Asian spices, and underbrush. This seductive blend of 60% Merlot and 40% Cabernet Franc reveals a lush sweetness, medium body, and ripe, well-integrated tannin. A racy effort filled with personality.
Robert M. Parker, Jr. - Wine Advocate - Issue#153 - Jun 2004

The Producer

Chateau Cheval Blanc

Chateau Cheval Blanc

Château Cheval Blanc, a 1er Grand Cru Classé (A) is unquestionably the leading estate in St. Emilion. It is located in the north-west of the St. Emilion appellation, bordering Pomerol.

Cheval Blanc's vineyards (Merlot 39%, Cabernet Franc 57%, Malbec 3%, Cabernet Sauvignon 1%) enjoy a variety of soils: gravel, clay and sand, all underpinned by an impermeable sedimentary rock (`crasse de fer'). Fermentation and maceration last 4 weeks in stainless steel vats, followed by 18 months' maturation in new oak barrels.

Cheval Blanc produces the most famous Cabernet Franc-based wine in the world and present régisseur Pierre Lurton is amongst the most talented winemakers working in Bordeaux today. Cheval Blanc requires a minimum 10 years of bottle age and the best vintages can last for 50 years or more.

The Grape

Cab.Sauvignon Blend

Cab.Sauvignon Blend

Cabernet Sauvignon lends itself particularly well in blends with Merlot. This is actually the archetypal Bordeaux blend, though in different proportions in the sub-regions and sometimes topped up with Cabernet Franc, Malbec, and Petit Verdot.

In the Médoc and Graves the percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon in the blend can range from 95% (Mouton-Rothschild) to as low as 40%. It is particularly suited to the dry, warm, free- draining, gravel-rich soils and is responsible for the redolent cassis characteristics as well as the depth of colour, tannic structure and pronounced acidity of Médoc wines. However 100% Cabernet Sauvignon wines can be slightly hollow-tasting in the middle palate and Merlot with its generous, fleshy fruit flavours acts as a perfect foil by filling in this cavity.

In St-Emilion and Pomerol, the blends are Merlot dominated as Cabernet Sauvignon can struggle to ripen there - when it is included, it adds structure and body to the wine. Sassicaia is the most famous Bordeaux blend in Italy and has spawned many imitations, whereby the blend is now firmly established in the New World and particularly in California and  Australia.

The Region

St-Emilion

St-Emilion

St Emilion is one of Bordeaux's largest producing appellations, producing more wine than Listrac, Moulis, St Estèphe, Pauillac, St Julien and Margaux put together. St Emilion has been producing wine for longer than the Médoc but its lack of accessibility to Bordeaux's port and market-restricted exports to mainland Europe meant the region initially did not enjoy the commercial success that funded the great châteaux of the Left Bank. 

St Emilion itself is the prettiest of Bordeaux's wine towns, perched on top of the steep limestone slopes upon which many of the region's finest vineyards are situated. However, more than half of the appellation's vineyards lie on the plain between the town and the Dordogne River on sandy, alluvial soils with a sprinkling of gravel. 

Further diversity is added by a small, complex gravel bed to the north-east of the region on the border with Pomerol.  Atypically for St Emilion, this allows Cabernet Franc and, to a lesser extent, Cabernet Sauvignon to prosper and defines the personality of the great wines such as Ch. Cheval Blanc.  

In the early 1990s there was an explosion of experimentation and evolution, leading to the rise of the garagistes, producers of deeply-concentrated wines made in very small quantities and offered at high prices.  The appellation is also surrounded by four satellite appellations, Montagne, Lussac, Puisseguin and St. Georges, which enjoy a family similarity but not the complexity of the best wines.

St Emilion was first officially classified in 1954, and is the most meritocratic classification system in Bordeaux, as it is regularly amended. The most recent revision of the classification was in 2012

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