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Featuring fine balance and a beautiful tannic texture, the 2001 vintage associates qualities that are particularly appreciated by the château winemaking team: freshness, unctuousness, exuberant and satisfying fruitiness, and elegant complexity.
The intense dark red colour is starting to show some signs of age.
Although red fruit aromas prevail, the very intense bouquet also shows blackberry, blackcurrant, tobacco, and violet notes, as well as subtle hints of oak.
The wine starts out quite vinous on the palate, going on to show fine balance and structure with plenty of body. The middle palate is bursting with fruit. Black fruit, truffle, and violet flavours accompany the rich, silky, texture. The wine is remarkably balanced and the oak is very well-integrated. Furthermore, the aftertaste is quite long and superbly fresh.
The perfect balance and fine tannic grain of this vintage should enable it to go on improving for several decades.
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.
2001 was a rather dry, but not excessively warm year. The wine is complete, fresh, complex, and fruity, with a beautiful tannic texture.
The first four months of the year were wet and mild, except for a rather dry February. Both rainfall and temperatures from April to September were close to seasonal averages. While there were 125 mm of showers in July, rainfall in August and September was relatively low. August was hot (1.6°C above average) and September rather cool (2.2°C below average).
Except for two rainy days, the weather was good during the harvest.
The grapes had a very good balance between sugar and acid. The Merlot grapes were quite small. Average yields were 33 hectolitres per hectare for Cabernet Franc and 40 for Merlot.
A major effort was made with green pruning in 2001: suckering, bud pruning, leaf thinning, and green harvesting. These operations contributed to similar yields from one plot to another and an even distribution of bunches. They also helped to create a sort of sunny microclimate underneath the leaf canopy and promote ripeness of the bunches despite fairly strong vegetative growth in July and early August.
2001 is a very good year. Rigorous sorting accounted for the best possible grand vin. Only 55% of the crop went into 2001 Cheval Blanc.