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  • Country ranking ?

    640
  • Producer ranking ?

    14
  • Decanting time

    3h
  • When to drink

    from 2025
  • Food Pairing

    Roasted Turkey

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 2017 Cheval Blanc is composed of 56% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Franc and 14% Cabernet Sauvignon—an unusually high percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon for this wine. Deep garnet-purple colored, it opens slowly to reveal a gorgeous lilacs, roses, licorice and black truffles nose over a compelling core of cassis, warm plums, wild blueberries and cigar box plus a waft of wood smoke. Medium to full-bodied, firm and earthy in character on the palate, it packs in tightly wound fruits and mineral accents, culminating in a long, perfumed finish. 50,000 bottles are to be produced. Wine Advocate 95p

This is tight and very tannic with a linear and steely backbone of texture. Full-bodied, compacted and complete. Muscular and flexing it but polished and toned. Wow. There is 6% cabernet sauvignon in the blend, which may be giving this even more strength. Very, very long. Very Left Bank in terms of the power and depth. James Suckling 
 98p

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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 heterogeneous vintage, 2017 will remain in the memory of a lot of vintners with very mixed feelings. An early bud break put hopes very high for a good vintage. These hopes were destroyed by a frost period of historical dimensions. On April 20 an 21 as well as on April 27 and 28 the frost destroyed 30 to 50% of the harvest in the Gironde area, though the best terroirs and famous appellations have been less affected. An early and regular flowering set new hopes. Summer was very dry and the harvest was quite early, even accelerated by rain at the beginning of September. This was rather a problem for the Merlot grapes than for Cabernets. The Cabernet-Sauvignon took advantage of a dry Indian Summer. 

 

Overall the vintage produced remarkable dry white wines above the qualities of 2015 and 2016. The sweet wines took advantage of a fast and regular Botrytis resulting in great wines. The red wines are in general more heterogeneous. However, concerning the wines tasted and presented below, it is a vintage without aromas of peppers and vegetal components, therefore suggesting a good ripening level. For the vineyards suffering frost, often the second generation of grapes had to be used to produce wine. These wines are less impressive than the previous vintages. The best terroirs were offering wines with expressive fruit with a character allowing a good evolution. 

 

On the left bank, Pauillac was doing remarkably well as well as Saint-Julien and generally the vineyards facing the river. On the right bank the situation is much more heterogeneous, with very good results on the plateau calcaire of Saint-Emilion and the centre of the plateau de Pomerol. Overall fruit is dominating the tasting notes and at this early stage, the aromatic expression is mainly based on red and dark berries and stone fruit for the reds. 

 

For the whites the range goes from yellow fruits and citrus fruits up to tropical fruits especially in the sweet wines. Looking back to the last vintages ending on "7" it seems, that this vintage again respects a certain "7"-Tradition. It is a vintage bringing back Bordeaux to its roots, offering a very classic wine style with lower alcohol levels than in the previous years but with often excellent aromatic expression. 2015 and 2016 have surely been better vintages than last year, but based on a first impression 2017 seems to be better than 2014. The evolution will show, that 2017 is far from becoming a "forgotten vintage". Some nice surprises will be waiting for us.

Markus del Monego MW

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Vintage 2017

Bordeaux 2017 - A year of contrast 

Life isn’t fair and neither is nature. As the earth gets warmer, flowering gets earlier, and the risk of frost damage becomes greater. Not many winemakers can recall the frosts of 1991 first hand, but their legacy is still haunting. When the meteorologists predicted a cold blast on the nights of the 27th and 28th of April, there was a genuine sense of panic. Most with the means deployed bougies, wind turbines, helicopters, lit hay, took whatever measures they could - the rest left it to chance. 

The best protection was provided by nature; proximity to the Gironde and altitude. These by no coincidence at all are the best terroirs. The grand estates of the Medoc such as Leoville Las Cases, Pichon Comtesse and Montrose reported virtually no frost damage at all. Likewise in Pomerol, Chateau Lafleur, Petrus, Vieux Chateau Certan and all the other big names on the plateau of Pomerol were unscathed. There were a few notable casualties such as Cheval Blanc and Figeac, but the damage was far from catastrophic and the resulting wines are both spectacular.

Those situated on low lying vineyards in St Emilion or further away from the Gironde estuary in the Medoc had no natural protection. Here the mercury dipped below the critical level and frost damage was devastating. In places the whole crop was lost. Vignerons had to wait patiently and hope for a second generation bud. In most cases the second generation was futile.

Those partially affected by the frost predominantly lost their least auspicious terroirs and plots planted with young vines, normally designated into second wines and generics. A natural selection if you like… Statistically, 2017 does not make good reading for Bordeaux as a whole; appellations that produce bulk wine were hit hard.  Total output was 3.5m hectolitres, some 40% lower than 2016. However, yields at the top Chateaux are relatively normal and if they are down, it is generally attributed to the small berries caused by the drought conditions in July and August.

 

2017 is best summarised as an early vintage with significant hydric stress. Bud break, flowering, veraison and harvest were all two weeks ahead of the norm. Thankfully there was sufficient rain in June to carry the vines through the drought that was July and August. Average temperatures in July and August were not remarkable, although some Chateaux pointed out that alternating temperatures from warm days to cold days aided ripening. September brought much needed rain and cooler conditions. The nights were particularly cool which helped prevent botrytis and helped retain low pH levels. The latter part of the month saw a return to dry conditions which allowed the Cabernets to attain full maturity.

And what of the wines? Statistics can provide rationalisations, but they can’t tell you what the wines taste like. As Baptiste Guinaudeau says, the 2017s clearly fit into the trilogy of vintages affected by hydric stress, 2015, 2016 and 2017. There is wonderful, refreshing acidity and vitality to the fruit. Alcohol levels very moderate, much like in 2016. The wines are vibrant and aromatic. Due to the small berries, there is good colour and the quality of the press wines is very interesting. As 2017 didn’t have the warmth of 2015 and 2016, they are generally not as broad as their predecessors, however, the key was to extract gently and then use the high quality press wines to fill out the mid-palate. There are scores of successes. Vignerons who have been sympathetic and allowed their terroirs to speak have triumphed. Olivier Berrouet’s Petrus is absolutely outstanding, Chateau Lafleur and Pensees de Lafleur speak of purity and breed, Canon, Ausone, Cheval Blanc, Figeac and Tertre Roteboeuf have all produced worthy successors to their 2015s and 2016s. On the Left Bank, Chateau Margaux is perhaps a class apart, but Mouton Rothschild, Haut Brion, La Mission Haut Brion, Montrose, Pichon Comtesse and Leoville Las Cases are all out of the top drawer, and there are numerous others worthy of mention: Grand Puy Lacoste, Smith Haut Lafitte, Haut Bailly, Leoville Barton, Lynch Bages, Ducru Beaucaillou, Calon Segur, Palmer, Pichon Longueville, Brane Cantenac and Rauzan Segla.

 

One hesitates to use the term ‘classical’ as this expression has been hijacked as a euphemistic idiom for a wash out. 2017 certainly isn’t weak, which will no doubt disappoint those superstitious about vintages ending in seven! There is nothing excessive, they are perfectly mannered, understated yet handsome, rather like a perfectly tailored Saville Row suit. They ooze charm, grace, sophistication and elegance. Some would say they are somewhere between 2014 and 2015, but we didn’t really detect the flamboyance of 2015 in many wines. Perhaps they are more in the image of 2014 with a little bit of the class of 2016. As with the 2016s, there aren’t any real reference points. 2017 is uniquely 2017. Nature has done its own selection, and the results are rather special.

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Latest Pro-tasting notes

15 tasting notes

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Written Notes

The 2017 Cheval Blanc comes from 97% first generation grapes and 3% second generation from two-thirds of the vineyard, using a sorting table to select the ripest berries that were matured separately in small vats. The rejected second generation were sold off in bulk and not blended into the deuxième vin. There is a high percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon and comparatively lower percentage of Cabernet Franc due to the frost damage. So this is a more Left Bank Cheval Blanc using more the gravel soils than clay since the latter are colder. It has a tightly wound, almost Saint Estèphe-inspired bouquet, with fresh blackberry, cedar, wet clay and light iris-like aromas. The palate is medium-bodied with fine tannin, masculine in style, less corpulent than the 2015 or 2016, stricter and more linear, a “cool” Cheval Blanc that eschews the florality of previous vintages with a saline, marine-tinged finish. This is a cerebral Cheval Blanc, not the greatest in recent years, but one of the most interesting to sit and think about (and then drink of course!)

  • 95p

Frost affected part of the Cheval Blanc vineyard and as a result their harvest was one of the most drawn out, finishing on the 11th October. Pierre-Olivier Clouet, the talented winemaker talked about the hard work this vintage took and tasting the wine, you can see that efforts have paid off. Deep crimson colour, silky glossy texture, vibrant, fresh cassis flavours as a result of more Cabernet Sauvignon in the blend and great tannic persistence. The wine is very persistent and exciting in the finish.

  • 97p

3% of the grand vin made up of the second-generation (post frost) buds. More Cabernet Sauvignon than usual because the Cabernet Franc was more frosted. 56% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Franc, 14% Cabernet Sauvignon (usually 6–7%). Harvested 6 September to 8 October. The grand vin was 77% of the production. 50,000 bottles will be produced.
Tangy and fresh on the palate. Relatively delicate on the nose. Fine, scented graphite and herbaceous nose, classic Cheval. Deep cherry red. Super-fresh and very fine texture. Paper-fine tannins. Perfect balance between the fruit and the framework. Smaller berries with higher tannins, apparently. Succulent, tender, fresh. Moreish and mouth-watering. Melts in the mouth and persists.

  • 91p

50.000 bottles made. Ruby. Dark fruits, anise, scented, blueberries, juicy, fruity, blackberries. Intense and layered, minerals. Some mint and floral notes. Exotic spices if it gets some air. Fresh acidity, ripe tannins, fruity, dark berries, spices, liquorice, anise, detailed, minerals, bit tight and structured, long. 96-98

  • 97p

Dark purple red with violet hue and almost black core. Elegant and expressive nose, very elegant nose with aroma reminiscent of blackcurrants, dark berries, hints of roses and violets in the background. Elegant roasting aroma and fine mild spices are contributing to the wine's complexity. On the palate very elegant, great finesse and freshness, ripe fruit, mature tannins. A very classic, Cabernet based Cheval Blanc with great potential. 98+

  • 98p
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Information

Origin

St. Emilion, Bordeaux

Inside Information

A sense of forward motion here makes you smile - a reaction that's missing in many wines this year. The tannins push their way right through the palate, but cradle the cassis and bilberry fruit rather than smother it, helped by the fact that floral and smoky aromatics rise up. There's good persistency and you get that little kick and dance of minerality. The precision engineering is clear, but the overall feeling is simply of cohesion and enjoyment. 3.65ph. 100% new oak, but without a trace even now at this early stage. Approximately 60% of the wine this year came from the gravelly plots which were less affected by the frost, which accounts for a slightly higher level of Cabernet Sauvignon than usual. They used perhaps 1% of secondary budding in this blend (five weeks behind schedule at bud-break and then around 15 days by harvest) and kept picking from 15 September to 11 October - an extremely long schedule compared to most estates in 2017. With around 30% loss to frost, there will be 50,000 bottles of Cheval in 2017, compared to 116,000 in 2016. 21hl/ha yield this year, 75% destined for the grand vin.

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