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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.
After an exceptionally hot month of April, the weather deteriorated from May onwards. Cold and rain in July were followed by a dry spell in early August and then more rain at the end of the month.
The good weather returned in September with three weeks of ideal climate conditions: hot days and cool nights. At the end of September, the weather became more changeable with some showers although rather moderate.
Budburst was early for the Merlot vines, on around 12th March, and average for the Cabernet Franc, around 1st April. The high temperatures in early April speeded up vine growth and led to early flowering: 23rd May for the Merlot and 24th May for the Cabernet Franc vines.
Veraison also came early, on 22nd July for the Merlot and 31st July for the Cabernet Franc
vines. The ripening process was very slow due to low water stress, although this is not
necessarily a handicap when growing high-quality wines as it enhances flavour synthesis in the grapes. Harvesting started on 19th September and came to a close on 6th October.
The particular weather conditions of the 2007 vintage required unfailing attention to
green harvesting operations. The strong pressure from downy mildew was dealt with
effectively, and despite a high risk of botrytis towards the end of August, the good weather and cool nights in September reduced pressure from the fungus, allowing us to postpone harvesting and wait for the grapes to ripen perfectly in excellent condition. While vintage quality forecasts were somewhat pessimistic at the end of August, the very good climate conditions in September really turned the situation around. The good condition of the grapes made it possible to delay harvesting and allow them to ripen to perfection.
On harvesting, the grapes were very nicely balanced, and it was a good vintage for CabernetFranc, the variety that makes up the majority of Cheval Blanc.