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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 a mild and moderately rainy winter, the beginning of the vegetation cycle was very wet, with 173 mm of rain in May, two and a half times the normal amount,and very warm.
From mid-June through to the end of July a period of relative dryness set in, while the temperature and rainfall for August were close to normal.
There was some rain at the beginning of September followed by an exceptional period of very cool, dry weather from mid-September to mid-October which meant that the harvest was carried out in excellent conditions.
The unsettled weather at the beginning of June resulted in listless flowering, and therefore
low yields. At mid-veraison (colour change) there was a fairly long gap between the
Merlot (8th August) and the Cabernet franc (14th August).This difference in development
continued until picking, and resulted in a staggered harvest. The grapes were picked
from 30th September until 17th October, with several interruptions as we waited to harvest
each parcel at optimal ripeness. A small crop, an exceptional latter part of the season and
impeccably healthy vines produced grapes which were uniquely balanced, very precisely
flavoured, and rich in sugars and anthocyans.
While the quality of the Merlots was very good, rich and complex, the Cabernet Franc
was exceptional. In addition, a great homogeneity of the potential quality of the entire crop was noted. The synergy between the two varieties was evident.