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Chateau Cheval Blanc Saint Emilion Grand Cru Classé A

Chateau Cheval Blanc Saint Emilion Grand Cru Classé A - 2023 En Primeur

Cabernet Franc

Robert Parker The WineAdvocate (98-100/100 Punten):

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.

One of Bordeaux's most complex terroirs, Cheval Blanc sits on the site of an ancient river delta, with (to generalize) clay-rich soils in the lower-lying parts where rivulets once flowed and gravel and sand elsewhere. This complexity is reflected, of course, in the resulting wine but also in how it is farmed and made, with thoughtful use of cover crops according to soil type and parcel-by-parcel vinification. A concerted effort is being made, moreover, to bring life back to the vineyard, with hedges of native species to act as wildlife corridors and fruit trees planted among the vines. The same attention to detail that's applied in the vineyards, for example with regard to developing and testing an in-house massal selection, is applied in the cellar, where cooperage trials are notable for their exigence.

The 2023 vintage has turned out superbly at this address; indeed I can't think of any young Cheval Blanc that tasted so integrated and harmonious at so early a stage. Director Pierre-Olivier Clouet described the season as unremarkable in terms of rainfall overall (though thunderstorms in June gave rise to almost tropical conditions that amplified disease pressure), observing that temperatures, while high, were not particularly extreme in the context of the last decade. Flowering was rapid and successful, as at other addresses, and in Cabernet, maturity took its time coming, making for a protracted harvest between September 6 and October 3.