x
  • Country ranking ?

    952
  • Producer ranking ?

    40
  • Decanting time

    3h
  • When to drink

    now to 2040
  • Food Pairing

    Venison with Red Wine Sauce

The Tb points given to this wine are the world’s most valid and most up-to-date evaluation of the quality of the wine. Tastingbook points are formed by the Tastingbook algorithm which takes into account the wine ratings of the world's 50 best-known professional wine critics, wine ratings by thousands of tastingbook’s professionals and users, the generally recognised vintage quality and reputation of the vineyard and winery. Wine needs at least five professional ratings to get the Tb score. Tastingbook.com is the world's largest wine information service which is an unbiased, non-commercial and free for everyone.

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The final blend of the 2013 Cheval Blanc is 53% Cabernet Franc and 47% Merlot. It is a light- to medium-bodied, but stylish, perfumed, complex wine exhibiting hints of forest floor, raspberries and underbrush in a gentle, nicely textured style that builds incrementally in the mouth. Attractive fruit and substance give the wine more completeness than many of its peers. Administrator Pierre Lurton compares it, in a positive manner, to the style of the 2001, but I do not think it has quite the richness of that vintage. Nevertheless, this is an early-maturing, easygoing Cheval Blanc to drink in its first 10-12 years of life.  

Parker

Cheval Blanc began their harvest on September 26 and, because of the tropical humidity and disease pressure, finished quickly.

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The Story

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.

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Wine Information

2013 mainly featured a rainy June which disturbed flowering and a hot and dry summer.
Thanks to a historically low yield in volumes, 2013 Château Cheval Blanc is a wine full of freshness and smoothness
.

After an April with temperatures close to normal values, May and June were exceptionnally cool and damp with a significant lack of sunshine. July saw the beginning of a very hot and dry period, but the end of the month was punctuated by violent storms – for example, 37 mm of rain was recorded on July 27. The hail spared Cheval Blanc, however. Early August was marked by a period of inclement weather with a particularly violent storm on 2 August which, as you know, destroyed several thousand hectares of Bordeaux vineyards. However, once again Cheval Blanc was spared. A spell of hot, dry and sunny weather settled in from 8 August to 5 September. 

September featured several days of quite heavy rain, but the total amount of rainfall remained close to normal values. Early October was mild and very damp.

The cool, rainy spring held back vine phenology. This delay amounted to approximately a week at budburst, and more than two weeks at flowering, which took place in cool and particularly damp weather. Significant coulure was observed in both Merlot and in old Cabernet Franc plots. Branch growth continued until late in the season, ending in early September for gravel and clay soils and not until late September or early October for sandy soils. Mildew pressure was high throughout the season, including in August. At harvest time, the mild but damp weather produced botrytis pressure. - See more at: http://www.chateau-cheval-blanc.com/en/vintages/chateau-cheval-blanc-2013#sthash.sRDZbi9l.dpuf

 

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Vintage 2013

2013 BORDEAUX VINTAGE REPORT 

The 2013 vintage in Bordeaux was one of the most challenging since 1965 and 1968. Thomas Duroux of Chateau Palmer describes it as “the most complicated vintage in 20 years”. It rained almost continuously during spring. Flowering was uneven resulting in poor set, millerandage and coulure. The threat of mildew was mollified by the arrival of hot dry weather during summer. For a while vignerons were hopeful that plentiful sunshine and benign weather would allow the vines to catch up. Violent storms, wind and intermittent heavy rainfall in July and August hampered vine growth and created difficulties with fruiting. High humidity and cool temperatures prior to harvest led to a slowdown in ripening and the perfect environment for botrytis (grey rot) infection. Merlot did not perform well on the left bank. Chateau Margaux certainly was vulnerable to these conditions, but others, in their efforts to talk up the vintage, have shown superb Gallic denial. You would be forgiven for believing this might be an exceptional vintage; such is the brilliance of the best professional liars in the world.

 

In years gone by, the weather conditions, uneven ripening and disease pressure would have resulted in disastrous wines. Chateau Margaux avoided the worst rains by bringing in a picking team of 300 people to harvest the crop at lightning speed. Chateau Lafite also raced against the elements and won. Most Chateaux do not have this type of luxury. Sorting tables, were “derigeur” during the harvest, allowing the best berries to be selected. I can’t remember seeing any red wine with noticeable botrytis characters. The fruit, however, did not generally ripen to optimum levels. Many producers found it necessary to chaptalize their vinifications to allow the wine to reach a more attractive level of alcohol. Some Chateaux, including Cos d’Estournel at 12.7% alc, made their wines apparently without the addition of sugar. Most estates, however, found it difficult to achieve phenolic ripeness. Tannins are the framework of all red wines. They don’t have to be perfectly ripe; an “al-dente” texture can give a compelling freshness and appealing structure. But it was easy to over extract in 2013. The very best wines were those that were “unpushed” and intuitive to vintage conditions. The use of saignée (juice run off), reverse osmosis and other methods to concentrate wine, is never talked about by winemakers, but there were a few wines with soupy textures and unnatural mouthfeel.

 

Many of the 2013 primeurs wines have only been in barrel for a few weeks. This creates challenges because the oak characters can detract from the inherent quality of the young wines. Many Chateaux will no doubt adjust their oak maturation philosophies to match the character of the vintage. Others will use oak as a cosmetic or builders bog to fill the structural inadequacies of their wine. Acidity is also strongly present in the wines this year. This element is essential for the freshness, tension and life expectancy of any vintage. In riper years, acidity tends to play second fiddle, yet in 2013, it is a principal violin. Fruit character, perhaps the most important feature of any wine, inevitably varies according to sub region and vineyard. The very best wines of this vintage have the aromatic quality, persistence and depth of good vintages. Ultimately the most triumphant red wines are proportionate to the commitment and the financial resources of the wine producer.

 

Although Merlot struggled in the Medoc, it performed well on the right bank. Pomerol was comparatively resplendent with generous fruit and riper tannin backbones than elsewhere. St Emilion was also capable of making some lovely wine, but as usual the results were mixed. Pessac Leognan reds were muscular and on the rustic side, whereas the whites were minerally and fresh with strong acidities. Many feel that the dry whites are excellent. For most Australians, these wines don’t really offer value. There were some good Cabernet Sauvignon-dominant red wines made in the Medoc. However, no single sub region prevailed. If anything I preferred Pauillac, especially Chateau Grand Puy Lacoste and Chateau Batailley.

 

The humidity that hampered the 2013 harvest in the Medoc and elsewhere worked in favour of Sauternes and Barsac producers. There was a ‘widespread proliferation” of botrytis cinerea (noble rot) during Bordeaux’s wet autumn. The wines range from magnificent to standard in quality. The very best have a beautiful honey, barley water complexity, understated richness and viscosity and fresh acidity. Chateau d’Yquem is remarkably good. The biodynamic Chateau Climens is a beautiful expressive wine. Every year, I taste it in barrel and in parts. I can imagine the final blend and it will not disappoint.

 

The 20% drop in exchange rates between the Australian Dollar and the Euro over the last year will make the 2013 more expensive that the better 2012 and 2011 vintages. Unfortunately this will have a significant impact on market opportunities in Australia. It is unlikely the Chateau owners will drop their prices significantly enough to make this campaign worthwhile. The drop in demand from China and the “pipeline” full in other markets will result in sluggish sales across the world. Although this year’s primeur campaign will test the resilience of the traditional Bordeaux wine trade, there is still an impressive level of optimism. I think everyone is looking forward to moving on from the 2013 vintage. On the other hand this is the type of vintage, with a touch of bottle age, that could reappear in a more favourable light in a few years time.

by ANDREW CAILLARD MW

 

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Latest Pro-tasting notes

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Written Notes

A deep ruby red Intense on the nose, this vintage displays notes of red, black and candied fruits, as well as rose and lilac, with a hint of almond. On the palate, the tannins in this wine are ripe and silky, smooth and rounded. Full and supple, with a fresh, medium-long finish, this vintage is free from any oaked flavours.

The 2013 vintage presented many challenges to winemakers. Grapes suffered from coulure (the dropping of improperly fertilised flowers) and millerandage (irregular development of grapes), and yields were low. Precision was therefore required in the cellar – winemakers determined that this vintage, a blend of 49% merlot, 48% cabernet franc and 3% cabernet sauvignon, would benefit from 15 months’ ageing in new oak to impart density and focus. 

Winemakers overcame challenging conditions in 2013 to craft this fine, fresh, smooth Saint-Emilion Grand Cru Classé. It is a fine reflection of Château Cheval Blanc’s exceptional expertise.Yields were historically low in 2013, yet meticulous care of the Saint-Émilion vines, patience on the part of winemakers and careful sorting following the harvest ensured a successful vintage.

Ruby. Shut nose, dark berries, vanilla, floral and scented nose, spices, maybe a faint hint of the exoticness typical of Cheval. Fresh acidity, ripe tannins, lively, fresh and nuanced, leaner, elegant and refreshing, long. 92-94
  • 94p
Cheval Blanc 2013 /"A vintners vintage" as Pierre Lurton explains. Dark purple red with violet hue and almost black centre. Elegant nose with excellent fruit, dark berries and hints of blackcurrants. Fine toasted flavours and hints of minerality. On the palate well structured with a rather discreet start but a persistant length. Very elegant character. 94 points
  • 94p
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Information

Origin

St. Emilion, Bordeaux

Vintage Quality

Above Average

Value For Money

Satisfactory

Investment potential

Below Average

Fake factory

None

Glass time

3h

Drinking temperature

16

Inside Information

RIPENING AND YIELDS

The hot weather in July and the dry period in late August did not speed up phenology, which was more than two weeks behind at mid-veraison. This made it the lastest veraison for 25 years. Harvesting took place from 30 September to 15 October. The choice of harvest date was a compromise between the desire to attain optimum ripeness and the requirement to ensure a good level of health. As a result, the ripening period – the number of days between mid-veraison and harvesting – was slightly shorter than the average over the last fifteen years.

The yield for 2013 was very low (22hl/ha). The main reason for this was the high level of coulure, caused by adverse fertilization conditions at flowering. Significant sorting during the harvest also had a negative impaction the historically low volumes harvested.

CELLAR WORK

The wine underwent no saignée (bleeding from fermentation vats), and was not chaptalised. It contains no press wine and was entirely aged in new oak barrels for 15 months.

 

 

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