Whether by design or by pure chance, there are in the world exceptional places. Cheval Blanc is one of these. Combining a unique soil with a symbiotic mix of grape varieties, Cabernet Franc and Merlot, Cheval Blanc produces a wine, which has the rare quality of being good at any age. It is without doubt one of the most consistent wines in the world. Cheval Blanc's unique identity is due to its varied soils, early-ripening microclimate, the percentage of Cabernet Franc in the vineyard, and the close proximity of the finest wines of Pomerol.
Château Cheval Blanc has the rare ability to be good at whatever age. It is enjoyable young or as much as a century old in certain vintages. However, a great wine only reveals its full potential and all its subtle nuances after several years in bottle. It takes time to show its true colours and before reaching its peak. Every vintage of Cheval Blanc is made according to the traditional philosophy that great wine needs to age.
It should nevertheless be said that wines with ageing potential go through several periods, and that each one has its own type of attractiveness. This is all part of Château Cheval Blanc's fascinating complexity. Three different bottles of Cheval Blanc from the same vintage drunk at five, twenty, and forty years of age will each show a different facet of the same wine, variations on the same lovely theme. A bottle of fine wine meant to age is like a library of flavours that develop throughout its existence.
Wine is a "cultural" beverage that is very much alive and develops countless nuances over time. That is why this long waiting period needs to be respected. It is crucial to the wine's evolution, so that it can deliver its very best.
FEATURES OF THE VINTAGE
Another hot year with temperatures 1.4°C above average. After a mild, dry spring,scorching heat reigned through July and August, reaching the highest temperatures recorded for 45 years.
Summer rainfall was somewhat low at Cheval Blanc. September started in the cold and rain, but dried up going into the last ten days of the month, and conditions were clement throughout October.
These remarkable weather conditions again caused the vine cycle to be ahead of the normal schedule.
Budburst was around 27th March, the mid-point of flowering on 1st June and mid-veraison
on 4th August for the Merlot and the 12th for the Cabernet Franc. The harvests took
place from 15th to 28th September in good weather.
In the previous 50 years at Cheval Blanc, only the 1989 and 1990 vintages had been
picked earlier. The grapes were in perfect condition and arrived in the winery with
the ideal concentration of those great hot, dry years, being rich in sugars and phenolic
compounds, and low in acidity. The natural alcohol content of the Merlot was well
over 13°, and that of the Cabernet Franc barely half a degree less. The volume of
the harvest was slightly above average. The blend for that year’s Château Cheval
Blanc, is made of 53% Cabernet Franc and 47% Merlot.