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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.
THIS IS AN OUTSTANDING VINTAGE
This vintage immediately produces a very favorable impression. Very tannic at the beginning, a little tough, it proves to be very balanced and dense at maturity and is well in the lead of wine tasting.
Grape harvesting takes place in magnificent weather, from September 22nd till October 4th, after a warm summer, which followed a cold and humid winter. The setting up at Cheval Blanc of new concrete tanks allows to move to a new phase of wine making and to master the fermentation temperatures. The yield is 20 ho/ha. It has 12° of alcohol.
1966 is an outstanding year in Bordeaux for very classic and delicate wines. However, the year started out as anything but promising. The major rainfall that started at the end of June continued into July, but the hot start to August dried the soil and the weather gradually improved toward autumn, until it was nearly perfect for the harvest.
These wines share a truly classic, graceful and high-quality character so typical of Bordeaux wines, thus making them elegant and well balanced. Today many of these are still good. If carefully stored, many of the best wines may still mature, but the following rule of thumb should be observed: drink or sell them off immediately. In our opinion, this is one of the finest vintages that can be purchased today. Nearly all the AOC wines are still in excellent condition, and the top examples, such as the Palmer, Latour, Haut-Brion, Lafleur and Pétrus, are excellent. There is a wide selection of nicely priced First, Second and Third growth wines on the market. For example, the Cos d’Estournel, Calon-Ségur and Lynch-Bages offer an exceptional price-quality ratio. As a rule, a one hour decanting is sufficient.
Price trends for this vintage no longer show any significant upward movement – the increase in price over the past ten years has been around 55%. The rise in price will continue alongside the maturation of top wines perhaps until 2010, when any wines still surviving should be removed from the cellar and sold or drunk immediately.