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.
A vintage marked by contrasting weather conditions. From April to September, temperatures were 2°C above seasonal norms. In August, temperatures fell and in September, after an eight-day heat-wave with temperatures exceeding 30°C, the rain started.
The weather conditions of the 2006 vintage were very good for vine development and ripening of the grapes. Great care during harvesting was necessary due to the changeable weather conditions.
Budburst occurred in the first week of April. The mid-flowering to mid-veraison interval
was normal, at 60 days. Between mid-veraison at the end of July and the harvest, the
interval was 46 days, which is also normal in Bordeaux. Harvesting started on 15th September
and went on non-stop through to 28th September. The inconsistent weather in 2006 produced
grapes of great quality but also very fragile grapes due to the successive periods of heat
and rain, making constant sorting in the vines and the winery a necessity.
By early September, the ripeness of the grapes was exceptional. The average potential
alcohol content of the Merlot was over 14° with a good acidity level. Although some dilution
phenomena were noted due to the rain, the excellent soils, plot selection and human skill
got the better of the ups and downs of the weather.
2006 was a highly technical vintage in Bordeaux and the results were uneven. Strict sorting
of a rather small harvest due to severe thinning (28 hl/ha) made sure that Cheval Blanc
kept all the exceptional potential of the vintage. The quality was identical for the Merlot
and Cabernet Franc grapes, and the synergy between the two in the blend is perfectly