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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.
FEATURES OF THE VINTAGE
A year placed under the sign of heat, with an average temperature 1.4°C higher than normal values. While rainfall was high, it was spread irregularly over the course of the year.
The first months were mild and wet, although with a chilly spell at the start of April. Hot, dry conditions then settled in through July and August.
It was only from 7th September that the weather cooled down again, along with heavy showers at the end of the month. Budburst was early again this year, as in 1990: 16th March for the Merlot and the 20th for the Cabernet Franc. Flowering reached its mid-point on 31st May, and mid-veraison was on 3rd August
for the Merlot and on the 7th for the Cabernet Franc. While the cycle was close to that observed in 1993, it should be noted that the dry summer weather arrived earlier in 1994, bringing vine growth to an earlier halt. The harvests were ahead of the usual dates yet again, from 16th to 29th September.
After an early start to the ripening process, the accumulation of sugars and phenolic compounds was slowed down by the September
rain. The grapes were perfectly ripe by the time they were picked, however. Yields
were higher than average for the Merlot, and very low for the Cabernet Franc, with
the grapes of the latter variety proving tobe particularly tasty.