2023 Le Petit Cheval, St Emilion, Bordeaux

2023 Le Petit Cheval, St Emilion, Bordeaux

Product: 20238123565
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Prices start from £720.00 per case Buying options
2023 Le Petit Cheval, St Emilion, Bordeaux

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Available by the case In Bond. Pricing excludes duty and VAT, which must be paid separately before delivery. Storage charges apply.
Case format
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Price per case
6 x 75cl bottle
Berry Bros. & Rudd BB&R 15 cases £720.00
En Primeur Limited availability
En Primeur Limited availability
3 x 150cl magnum
Berry Bros. & Rudd BB&R 5 cases £729.00
En Primeur Limited availability
En Primeur Limited availability
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Description

Blend: 50% Merlot; 50% Cabernet Franc.

It is the château’s ambition that every plot of vines here should be capable of inclusion in the grand vin. This was the case in 2022, when no Petit Cheval was made. But in 2023, a few Merlot plots were deemed not quite up to the mark; these, along with some young-vine Cabernet Franc, are included here. Accounting for just 10% of the crop, this is a very serious and complete second wine. It lacks all the dimensions of the grand vin, but this is impressive. It is also more aromatically accessible, full of blue fruits, scented herbs and warm spice. It is very much a mini-Cheval Blanc.

Drink 2028 - 2042

Our score: 16.5/20

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Critics reviews

Jane Anson93/100

Precise carved quality to this Petit Cheval, gorgeous vibrancy to the tannins, savoury cassis and blueberry fruits, with sage, fennel and lemongrass edges, grilled and mouthwatering spices on the finish. Drawn from five plots in 2023. Pierre Olivier Clouet director, 40hl/h yield, 10% of overall production, harvest September 6 to October 3.

Drink 2030 - 2044

Jane Anson, JaneAnson.com (April 2024)

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Neal Martin, Vinous91-93/100

The 2023 Le Petit Cheval, which sees no new oak, offers blackberry and raspberry fruit on the nose, with hints of fireside hearth and light Earl Grey aromas, all finely delineated. The palate is medium-bodied with expressive Cabernet Franc that imparts subtle bell pepper notes in the background. Cohesive, silky-smooth and moderate in length, this is an attractive Le Petit Cheval that will give a decade's drinking pleasure.

Drink 2026 - 2038

Neal Martin, Vinous.com (April 2024)

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Antonio Galloni, Vinous92-94/100

The 2023 Le Petit Cheval represents 10% of the estate's production and is a blend of equal parts Merlot and Cabernet Franc. In a way, that results in a Petit Cheval that is very Cheval, meaning very expressive in the bouquet but less giving on the palate. Crushed red berry fruit, cinnamon, star anise, pomegranate and blood orange lend an exotic flair. Bright acids and persistent tannins appear on the finish to give the wine shape, closing with a burst of energy. Superb.

Drink 2028 - 2043

Antonio Galloni, Vinous.com (April 2024)

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Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW92-94/100

Deep garnet-purple in color, the 2023 Le Petit Cheval storms out of the glass with powerful earthy/savory notes of tar, tapenade, and underbrush giving way to a core of ripe black plums, boysenberries, and iris bulb with a fragrant touch of dried Provence herbs. The medium-bodied palate is satin-soft and refreshing, with a well-sustained mid-palate of savory flavors, finishing with a cheeky red berry lift. The blend is 50% Merlot and 50% Cabernet Franc, aged in 1-year barrels with no new oak. Le Petit Cheval accounts for 10% of production.

Drink 2028 - 2042

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

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Jancis Robinson MW16.5/20

50% Merlot, 50% Cabernet Franc. 15% of the harvest. From 5 parcels out of the 46 currently in production. Cask sample.

Leafy and floral, the Cabernet Franc notable. Very smooth with fine, filigree tannins for medium-term ageing. Lots of freshness, so appetising. 

Drink 2028 - 2038

James Lawther MW, JancisRobinson.com (April 2024)

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Wine Advocate89-91/100

There are only 15,000 bottles of the 2023 Le Petit Cheval, a blend of equal parts Merlot and Cabernet Franc that didn't have quite the plenitude of the grand vin. Offering up an attractive bouquet of minty berries, cherries, plums and petals, it's medium-bodied, pillowy and vibrant, with polished tannins and a bright core of fruit. I suspect that a bit of patience will be rewarded by more fat and texture.

William Kelley, Wine Advocate (April 2024)

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James Suckling94-95/100

There’s depth of fruit, good structure and freshness in this black-cherry and chocolate-scented wine. It’s full-bodied, yet it tightens up on the finish. Toned, muscular and crisp. 10% of the production of Cheval. 50% merlot and 50% cabernet franc.

James Suckling, JamesSuckling.com (April 2024)

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Jeb Dunnuck92-94/100

Brought up all in once-used barrels, the 2023 Château Cheval Blanc Le Petit Cheval is based on equal parts Merlot and Cabernet Franc. It offers loads of Cabernet character in its deeper currants, tobacco, darker chocolate, and leafy herb-like aromatics, with a kiss of background violet and floral nuances. It's no lightweight and has plenty of structure, medium body, ultra-fine tannins, and a gorgeous finish. It's a singular, unique expression from this terroir that will benefit from 5-6 years, if not more, of bottle age.

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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