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This was a hot year in which the grapes reached a perfect degree of ripeness. The resulting wine is thus dark-coloured, smooth, deep, and intense.
2009 Cheval Blanc has an intense crimson colour and a subtle bouquet that is both fruity and flora. It also displays notes of fresh fig, blackberry, and red fruit such as raspberry, as well as hints of violet found in great vintages.
The wine is delightful on the palate thanks to its power, richness, body, and concentration. Blessed with superb balance, 2009 Cheval Blanc displays an incredible combination of power, delicacy, ripeness, and freshness. Complete and complex, it is above all smooth.
A vintage to age for a very long time, its complex bouquet will undoubtedly blossom over time. The wine's intrinsic freshness and power will undoubtedly remain unchanged.
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.
2009 was a warm, dry year, but not to excess. Wonderfully ripe grapes account for this very great vintage of Château Cheval Blanc which is tremendously smooth with impressive concentration and exuberant richness. This wine leaves a strong impression and will continue to do so for many years.
The vegetation cycle started in rainy conditions, followed by a long period of drought from mid-July through to mid-September.
After two days of rain on 19th and 20th September, the weather was remarkably dry and settled until the end of October. Over the course of the vegetation cycle, temperatures were slightly higher than normal. The months of June, August and September were quite hot, alternating with remarkably cool nights.
Budburst came at the end of March for the Merlot and in early April on the Cabernet Franc vines.
Flowering and veraison came very close together. The first plots of Merlot were harvested from 15th September onwards. The Cabernet Franc was picked between 28th September and 7th October. The changeable weather early on in the season required careful monitoring to avoid any contamination by downy mildew.
The risks then receded, however, as the dry weather settled in July. Water stress slowed down growth of the shoots and limited the size of the grapes, two essential conditions to make a great vintage.Leaf-stripping was carried out on the east-facing side of the rows as soon as flowering had finished. Thinning was also carried out twice, once on berry set to spread the bunches out over the vines, and again on veraison to ensure more consistent ripeness levels. The grapes were harvested in a condition close to perfection. During harvesting, each of the plots reached ideal ripeness levels thanks to the goodweather. Grape-picking was staggered, harvesting each plot only when daily tasting ofthe grapes showed it was really ready.
Drought conditions in July and August contributed to making the grapes more concentrated,while the mild temperatures in August and September helped them reach excellent ripeness levels.Cool nights in July, August and September preserved all the freshness and aromatic complexity of the harvest. Put these three factors together and you get a great vintage. When harvest time came, the ripeness of the grapes was amazingly consistent, and they had great balance, always the sign of a perfectly ripe crop.
Much like 1947, 1961 and 2005, 2009 is a year of almost overly (for Bordeaux) flamboyant and opulent wines with high maturity and low acidity. The tannins are exceptionally ripe, while the wines are quite voluptuous in style. The Left Bank recorded more hours of sunshine than legendary vintages such as 1947 and 1982, and the grapes had higher sugar concentrations than in 2003 and 2005. The key was significant diurnal temperature variations that allowed the grapes to withstand hot daytime temperatures. An exceptional vintage on all levels.
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