1996 Ch. Cheval Blanc, St Emilion, Bordeaux

1996 Ch. Cheval Blanc, St Emilion, Bordeaux

Product: 19968003285
Prices start from £432.28 per bottle (75cl). Buying options
1996 Ch. Cheval Blanc, St Emilion, Bordeaux

Description

A well evolved, elegant example of Cheval Blanc. Surprisingly forward, sweet, complex fruit and a long, velvety finish. This wine will continue to gain in weight and complexity over the ensuing decade.
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About this WINE

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.

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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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Reviews

Customer reviews

Wine Advocate88/100

Critic reviews

Wine Advocate88/100
Tasted at the chteau, the 1996 Cheval Blanc was a majority of Cabernet Franc although the exact blend is not known. Firstly, the color is a healthy garnet with a mahogany rim. The bouquet has good intensity although it is certainly not a complex set of aromas: dusky black fruit, game, clove and a faint touch of hickory. The palate is quite sharp on the entry with noticeable acidity. My main criticism is a lack of cohesion and a lack of Merlot to bind everything together and lend fleshiness. It seems to be rather monochromatic, a Cheval Blanc with a single note, the finish conservative with a touch of black pepper and cooked meat, but a little frayed around the edges. I would drink bottles now and maybe larger formats would yield more pleasure. The bottom line is this is not one of the great Cheval Blancs and that is reflected in my score. Tasted July 2016.
Neal Martin - 28/10/2016 Read more