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This vintage of Cheval Blanc has aged admirably, confirming once again that it is sometimes difficult to predict the quality of a great wine in its youth. This wine currently constitutes a very pleasant surprise. In fact, it is a moving experience to drink such a good bottle that is over 40 years old.
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.
1972 was marked by cool temperatures and record rainfall in August. Despite the very late harvest, the wines were much criticised in their youth. However, this Cheval Blanc has aged admirably and is a very pleasant surprise after more than 40 years in bottle.
The weather at the beginning of the growth cycle was cool and fairly wet. June and July were especially dry, as was September, although temperatures were much higher than average from April to September. The month of August was wet, with 187 mm of rain, i.e. 123 mm above average... The low precipitation in September and October fortunately made it possible to harvest under good conditions. The cool weather all year long considerably delayed phenolic maturity and ripeness in the grapes. The harvest was exceptionally late. Yields were extremely low: just 17 hectolitres per hectare.