x
  • Country ranking ?

    631
  • Producer ranking ?

    29
  • Decanting time

    4h
  • When to drink

    from 2020
  • Food Pairing

    Lamb Stew with Spring Vegetables

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“The Château Cheval Blanc 2014 is a blend of 45% Cabernet Franc and 55% Merlot, picked from 19 September until 8 October. The alcohol level is 13.25% matured in 100% new oak, which Pierre Lurton told me was prolonged due to the heterogenous soils and wanting to wait for the Cabernet Franc on clay soils to reach full maturity. It is quintessential Cheval Blanc on the nose: predominantly red fruit here rather than black, touches of incense and dried roses, a dab of liquorice underneath. The Cabernet Franc is the engine behind the aromatics. The palate is medium-bodied with grainy tannin. This is not a silky smooth Cheval Blanc – here there is an graininess to the tannin that exert a gentle grip in the mouth. It is a complex and cerebral wine with cracked black pepper on the almost ferrous finish. Like the second wine, it is linear and fresh, in some ways reminiscent of the string of superb wines produced in the 1980s. This is a formidable Cheval Blanc whose evolution will be fascinating to witness.” -Wine Advocate (95-97 Points)

 

2014 was mainly a rainy year until the end of August. Nevertheless, thanks to exceptionally good autumn weather, it was possible to harvest each plot at peak ripeness and avoid any herbaceous aromas. Cabernet Franc grapes are very successful thanks to these hot and dry weather conditions​.

 

The late winter was warm and wet. April and May were cool, with average rainfall. Dry weather from 25th May to 21st June ensured satisfactory flowering. Thunderstorms on 22nd and 27th June ended the water deficit that was just beginning to set in. July was very rainy, with near-normal temperatures. August was cool and wet. The situation changed toward the end of the month and September was hot and sunny. The weather was generally hot and dry, with only three wet days on 17th, 18th and 30th September. October was very mild and relatively dry. 

The months of September and October were among the warmest recorded in the past twenty years.

 

 

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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

A Snap-shot of the 2014 Vintage by Markus Del Monego MW

2014 had an early start with budbreak around 10 days ahead of the 10 years average. End of May flowering started on the early terroirs in heterogeneous conditions, whereas the later varieties such as Cabernet-Sauvignon and Franc as well as later terroirs took advantage of a warm and sunny period beginning of June. July and August where quite cool and humid and in the second half of August the vintners prepared themselves for a vintage even worse than 2013 but at the end of August everything changed. A spledid indian summer througout September and October saved the quality. Harvest started for the white grapes started three days later than in 2012 but two weeks later than 2011. For the red grapes the harvest startet with Merlot at the end of September and ended with the Cabernets in the second half of October. The cool climate during summer provides a higher acidity, the indian summer is responsible for the right ripening.

The dry white wines are on a very good quality level showing crisp acidity and ripe flavours. The noble sweet white wines also take advantage of the higher acidity balancing the opulent sweetness. Therefore this vintage seems more on the elegant side. The presentation of red wines depends very much on the grape varietes and terroirs. Overall the red wines are on a higher quality level than the three previous vintages. Saint-Emilion is excellent on the plateau calcaire and shows in general very good wines.

 In Pomerol the centre of the plateau was in advantage over the surrounding areas. Fronsac was a very positive surprise for 2014. In the Médoc the southern part proved to be more heterogenous than the northern part, where especially Saint-Estèphe was homogenous and excellent. South of Bordeaux Pessac-Léognan presented a very homogenous picture of a very good quality level with outstanding wines from Haut Brion and La Mission Haut Brion.

One last observation: This vintage digests oak in a great way. The oak is even not obvious in wines with a 100% new oak barrels for maturation. Now there are roughtly twelve month to follow for the maturation of the 2014s untill the bottling in 2016. A lot can happen in this period. Let us see how the wines will present themselves after bottling, it will be a very interesting tasting again. 2014 is not a great vintage like 2005, 2009 or 2010 but it will be able to secure a position as one of the very good vintages of Bordeaux.

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Vintage 2014

Bordeaux Vintage 2014 - is not a great vintage like 2005, 2009 or 2010 but it will be able to secure a position as one of the very good vintages of Bordeaux.

Timed usually ath the end of March and beginning of April the Primeur Week in Bordeaux is always an exciting moment as it allows a first view on the latest vintage. The huge number of wines available for tasting is impressing and one week seems almost to short. Therefore the Union de Grand Crus offers a well organised blind tasting for the press on every morning during the week. On the precendt weekend the Grand Cercle des vins de Bordeaux holds blind tastings of over 200 samples. These impressions are complemented by tastings at various Châteaux and tastings organized by the Bordeaux trade. Therefore some oft he wines can be tasted twice or even more often during this week to doublecheck on quality and style.

 

An interesting fact is the weather situation. Meterologic low pressure means that wines may close down, meanwhile meterologic high pressure presents the wines in a more open and flavourful style. This year the wheather was quite bad during the first days of the tasting week but ameliorated a lot in the second half of the week. This had an influence on the tasting notes in general which has to be considered. Another effect has been the late harvest in 2014, which shortened the time period between harvest and Primeur tastings for up to a month. A month less time for maturation has effects on the tasting results which is another aspect to consider, always keeping in mind that each tasting result remains a snap-shot and is not an absolute and final judgement.

 

2014 had an early start with budbreak around 10 days ahead of the 10 years average. End of May flowering started on the early terroirs in heterogeneous conditions, whereas the later varieties such as Cabernet-Sauvignon and Franc as well as later terroirs took advantage of a warm and sunny period beginning of June. July and August where quite cool and humid and in the second half of August the vintners prepared themselves for a vintage even worse than 2013 but at the end of August everything changed. A spledid indian summer througout September and October saved the quality. Harvest started for the white grapes started three days later than in 2012 but two weeks later than 2011. For the red grapes the harvest startet with Merlot at the end of September and ended with the Cabernets in the second half of October. The cool climate during summer provides a higher acidity, the indian summer is responsible for the right ripening.

 

The dry white wines are on a very good quality level showing crisp acidity and ripe flavours. The noble sweet white wines also take advantage of the higher acidity balancing the opulent sweetness. Therefore this vintage seems more on the elegant side. The presentation of red wines depends very much on the grape varietes and terroirs. Overall the red wines are on a higher quality level than the three previous vintages. Saint-Emilion is excellent on the plateau calcaire and shows in general very good wines.

 In Pomerol the centre of the plateau was in advantage over the surrounding areas. Fronsac was a very positive surprise for 2014. In the Médoc the southern part proved to be more heterogenous than the northern part, where especially Saint-Estèphe was homogenous and excellent. South of Bordeaux Pessac-Léognan presented a very homogenous picture of a very good quality level with outstanding wines from Haut Brion and La Mission Haut Brion.

One last observation: This vintage digests oak in a great way. The oak is even not obvious in wines with a 100% new oak barrels for maturation. Now there are roughtly twelve month to follow for the maturation of the 2014s untill the bottling in 2016. A lot can happen in this period. Let us see how the wines will present themselves after bottling, it will be a very interesting tasting again. 2014 is not a great vintage like 2005, 2009 or 2010 but it will be able to secure a position as one of the very good vintages of Bordeaux.

by Markus del Monego MW

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Latest Pro-tasting notes

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Tasting note

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Written Notes

Medium deep colour. Beautiful raspberry, dark berry, praline minerally slightly sappy aromas. Palate is slinky in texture with elegant red and dark fruits, lacy dry textures and underlying savoury notes. Finishes chalky firm, long and savoury 94 points

  • 94p

Tasted in April 2015. Succulent and refined wine with great complexity, well-constructed with great depth, length and smooth and fleshy finish. This wine has big, big potential and can keep for several decades.

  • 96p
Scented, exotic, fruity, spices, dark berries, some plums, vanilla. Fresh acidity, ripe tannins, fruity, detailed, layered, intense and long. 93-95
  • 95p
Dark purple red with violet hue and almost black centre. Back to its former finesse. A good success with multilayered fruit, hints of minerality, elegant toasted flavours in the background. On the palate excellent length with lingering fruit and minerality, fine tannins. A elegant classic wine
  • 97p
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Information

Origin

St. Emilion, Bordeaux

Vintage Quality

Above Average

Value For Money

Very good

Investment potential

Below Average

Fake factory

None

Drinking temperature

16

Inside Information

RIPENING AND YIELDS

In the end, yields were nearly average for the Merlot grapes, and considerably lower than average for the Cabernet Franc. 
The almost total absence of water stress before colour-change was buffered on clay soils and resulted in ideal ripeness on gravel terroirs, particularly in the young vines.

Sugar levels in the ripe Merlot grapes were lower than average in the past ten years. Unusually, the Cabernet Franc grapes were richer in sugar than the Merlot ones, as previously observed in 2011. As Cabernet Franc is a later-ripening variety than Merlot, it reaped the full benefit of the hot, relatively dry weather in September and October. Acidity levels in the ripe grapes were significantly higher than average, due to the presence of malic acid.
The size of the Merlot grapes led to slightly lower anthocyanin concentrations, while the Cabernet Franc, harvested later, benefited fully from the indian summer, resulting in an above-average anthocyanin content.

CELLAR WORK

FR Bien que le château Cheval Blanc pratique rarement des techniques soustractives, la plupart des cuves de Merlot furent saignées en 2014 pour compenser la grosse taille des baies de ce cépage. La saignée moyenne sur l’ensemble de la récolte fut de 10%.
En 2014 les Merlots ont connu une durée de cuvaison de 29 jours, et les Cabernets francs une durée de cuvaison de 25 jours.

 

 

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