Chateau Cheval Blanc 2017
Blend: 56% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Franc and 14% Cabernet Sauvignon This is a special Cheval-Blanc with blackcurrants, blueberries and hints of fresh herbs, tobacco and cedar. Full-bodied, very powerful and muscular with lots of tannins. The higher percentage of cabernet sauvignon (15% instead of 5%) makes it structured. Give it time to come together. Better after 2022. A sense of forward motion here makes you smile – a reaction that’s missing in many wines this year. The tannins push their way right through the palate, but cradle the cassis and bilberry fruit rather than smother it, helped by the fact that floral and smoky aromatics rise up. There’s good persistency and you get that little kick and dance of minerality. The precision engineering is clear, but the overall feeling is simply of cohesion and enjoyment. 3.65ph. 100% new oak, but without a trace even now at this early stage. Approximately 60% of the wine this year came from the gravelly plots which were less affected by the frost, which accounts for a slightly higher level of Cabernet Sauvignon than usual. They used perhaps 1% of secondary budding in this blend (five weeks behind schedule at bud-break and then around 15 days by harvest) and kept picking from 15 September to 11 October – an extremely long schedule compared to most estates in 2017. With around 30% loss to frost, there will be 50,000 bottles of Cheval in 2017, compared to 116,000 in 2016. 21hl/ha yield this year, 75% destined for the grand vin. Barrel Sample While the blend is shifted more towards Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon in 2017, the Chateau Cheval Blanc is nevertheless a beautiful wine in every sense and shows the hallmark elegance and complexity of this estate perfectly. Deep ruby/purple, with notes of ripe dark fruits, violets, rose petals, and spice, it hits the palate with medium to full-bodied richness, ripe yet integrated tannins, terrific mid-palate concentration, and a great, great finish. Based on 66% Merlot, 29% Cabernet Franc, and 15% Cabernet Sauvignon, give this incredibly floral, seamless 2017 5-7 years of bottle age and enjoy over the following two decades.