2023 Château Cheval Blanc, St Emilion, Bordeaux

2023 Château Cheval Blanc, St Emilion, Bordeaux

Product: 20238003285
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2023 Château Cheval Blanc, St Emilion, Bordeaux

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Description

Blend: 52% Merlot; 46% Cabernet Franc; 2% Cabernet Sauvignon.

This is a wine of exceptional potential. On first impressions, it is very structured and architectural, although with evident energy, but the Cabernet Franc element is rather quiet. Pierre-Olivier Clouet, part of the furniture here since 2008 (as technical director and now the managing director), has no concerns that the aromatics will arrive. When they do, this will evolve into something quite special.

Everything is in place: the infrastructural skein of taut but mature tannins; a reserved but considered minerality; and a fine tension between the elements. This is probably a slow-burner, and its progress through élevage will be fascinating to witness.

Drink 2034 - 2060

Our score: 18.5/20

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Critics reviews

Jane Anson98/100

Contrasts intensity and depth with nuance and softly spoken character. Lift and tension, precisely placed cocoa bean, liqourice root, tomato leaf, tannins, violet and peony florals and slate, sinewy, slow-tug tannins, powerful with lift off. Has plenty to say and demands that you slow down to hear it. 40hl/h yield, 75% of overall production (no press wine as ever), harvest September 6 to October 3. Pierre-Olivier Clouet director.

Drink 2032 - 2050

Jane Anson, JaneAnson.com (April 2024)

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Neal Martin, Vinous96-98/100

The 2023 Cheval Blanc is uncharacteristically backward on first meeting, and it takes time to really fire up its engines. Quite strict and focused (surprisingly so), the bouquet reveals black fruit, a touch of bilberry, with just a whiff of iris flower. The palate has wonderful symmetry, outstanding mineralité and ample tension. It's extremely pure, with less weight than the 2022 but perhaps a touch more nerve. Modestly grippy on the finish, this "serious" Cheval Blanc will deserve several years in bottle. It's cerebral…and I like that. The 2023 is very different from the 2022—a beautiful minor chord.

Drink 2030 - 2060

Neal Martin, Vinous.com (April 2024)

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Antonio Galloni, Vinous95-98/100

The 2023 Cheval Blanc is silky, elegant and exceptionally polished. Cabernet Franc is rarely as expressive as it is here. Everything in the 2023 is about detail. All the elements are so well balanced—so integrated. Red/purplish berry fruit, mint, cinnamon, rose petal and blood orange meld together, while seamless tannins wrap it all up in grand style. What a wine.

Drink 2033 - 2063

Antonio Galloni, Vinous.com (April 2024)

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Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW97-99/100

The 2023 Cheval Blanc, accounting for 75% of this year's crop, is deep garnet-purple in color. After a little swirling, the nose erupts with an atomic perfume of Morello cherries, wild blueberries, black raspberries, and ripe plums leading to a fragrant undercurrent of rosebud tea, menthol, star anise, and cinnamon stick. The medium-bodied palate is fantastically fresh and graceful, delivering super-fine-grained tannins and just enough tension to support the red, black, and blue fruit layers, finishing on a lingering mineral note. This is magnificent. The blend is 52% Merlot, 46% Cabernet Franc, and 2% Cabernet Sauvignon, with pH 3.80.

Drink 2030 - 2060

Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW, The Wine Independent (May 2024)

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Jancis Robinson MW18/20

52% Merlot, 46% Cabernet Franc, 2% Cabernet Sauvignon. 40 hl/ha. Cask sample.

Purple hue. Restrained compared with Petit Cheval but dense and beguiling. Bright, fresh and smooth but plenty of punch from a polished but solid tannic core. Abundant fruit. Long. Should hold up well.

Drink 2032 - 2050

James Lawther MW, JancisRobinson.com (April 2024)

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Wine Advocate98-100/100

One of the most profound wines of the vintage is the 2023 Cheval Blanc, a striking wine that stands out for its strong sense of identity and seamless integration at such an early stage in its life. Wafting from the glass with notes of mulberries, lilac, dark fruits, iris root and violets, it's medium to full-bodied, supple and seamless, with a gourmand core of cool, vibrant fruit that entirely conceals its sweet structuring tannins, concluding with a long, perfumed finish. It's a blend of 52% Merlot, 46% Cabernet Franc and 2% Cabernet Sauvignon, drawing on fully 46 of the blocks that make up Cheval Blanc, and it attained 13.8% alcohol.

William Kelley, Wine Advocate (April 2024)

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James Suckling98-99/100

This is so cabernet, with blackcurrants, blackberries, crushed stone, graphite and lead pencil. Full-bodied with tight, chewy tannins that remain fine yet energetic. Winemaker Pierre-Olivier Clouet says this wine is a benchmark for Cheval Blanc. Reminds me of the great 1983. 13.8% alcohol. 52% merlot, 46% cabernet franc and 2% cabernet sauvignon.

James Suckling, JamesSuckling.com (April 2024)

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Decanter97/100

Fresh and floral on the nose, cool and crisp aromas. Purple flowers, red and purple berries with crayon, graphite and liquorice. Gorgeous texture on the palate, this has grip and bite, tannins are present and quite imposing, really coating the mouth with a powdery, chalkiness. It has some layers of tannin and ripe fruit but with freshness and lift all the way through.

It’s not immediately charming and generous, it’s more controlled, but not strict. Fresh, clean, precise with style and finesse and this packs more power than some. Raspberries, chalky cherries, bright blueberries with wet stones, lots of liquorice and slate. Balanced and containing both warm and cool vintage markers - lots of complexity on offer. It’s missing a touch of that gorgeous charm that Cheval does so well, a sense of enrobing, but it’s very well constructed with lots of personality.

The largest ever vintage in the Cheval cellars with a yield of 40hl/ha. 3.82pH.

Drink 2033 - 2050

Georgina Hindle, Decanter (April 2024)

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Jeb Dunnuck96-98/100

The Grand Vin 2023 Château Cheval Blanc is based on 52% Merlot, 46% Cabernet Franc, and 2% Cabernet Sauvignon and, as always, is resting in 100% new French oak. It's deep ruby/plum-hued and offers a gorgeous array of ripe black cherries, currants, leafy herbs, spring flowers, and spicy oak. This carries to a medium to full-bodied Cheval with gorgeous mid-palate depth, ripe, building, yet polished tannins, and a certainly salty, mineral character on the finish. This is a classic, regal, aristocratic Cheval Blanc that will need bottle age, but it’s absolutely gorgeous. It's the finest wine I tasted on the Right Bank.

Jeb Dunnuck, JebDunnuck.com (May 2024)

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About this WINE

Château Cheval Blanc

Château 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 Émilion

St Émilion

St Émilion 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 Émilion 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 Émilion, 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 Émilion 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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Merlot/Cabernet Franc

Merlot/Cabernet Franc

Merlot and Cabernet Franc are grape varieties commonly used in Bordeaux-style blends, particularly in the Bordeaux region of France. When these two grapes are blended, they can create a wine that combines the best characteristics of each variety.

Merlot is known for its smoothness, soft tannins, and ripe fruit flavours. It often contributes black cherry, plum, and chocolate flavours to the blend. The grapes are relatively easy to grow and ripen earlier than other Bordeaux varieties, making them versatile for blending.

Cabernet Franc, on the other hand, adds structure, depth, and complexity to the blend. It typically brings aromas of red fruits such as raspberry and strawberry, along with herbal notes like bell pepper and tobacco. These grapes have thinner skins and can be more challenging to cultivate, requiring specific growing conditions to reach their full potential.

When Merlot and Cabernet Franc are combined, the result is a well-balanced wine with various flavours and aromas. The blend often exhibits a Bordeaux wine's medium to full body, along with a smooth texture and moderate tannins. The specific flavour profile can vary depending on the proportions of each grape in the blend and the terroir and winemaking techniques employed.

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