2016 Chateau Cheval Blanc

Year: 2016
Appellation: Saint-Emilion
Country: France
Wine Advocate: 100
Vinous Media: 98
James Suckling: 98-99
Wine Enthusiast: 97-99--Jeff Leve: 97
Red Wine


Price :

"The 2016 Cheval Blanc is blended of 59.5% Merlot, 37.2% Cabernet Franc and 3.3% Cabernet Sauvignon. Deep garnet-purple in color, the nose is incredibly youthful yet not so shy as some other 2016s at this stage, giving wonderfully intense scents of red currants, black cherries, wild blueberries and violets with nuances of star anise, cinnamon stick, rose hip tea, cigar box and wood smoke plus a touch of beef drippings. Medium to full-bodied, the palate has jaw-dropping elegance and depth, offering up layer upon layer of fragrant red and black fruits plus an extraordinary array of mineral sparks, supported by a rock-solid grainy texture, finishing with epic persistence and an edifying perfume. This is a very different style from the rich, opulently hedonic 2015, yet this wonderfully fragrant, beautifully poised and intellectually compelling 2016 is equally extraordinary.

“We have a clay subsoil, which is great for managing the dry spells,” Cheval Blanc’s technical director, Pierre-Olivier Clouet, informed me regarding the 2016 vintage. And this is certainly true of a significant portion of this relatively large estate (for the Right Bank), which is mainly composed of gravel or sand over clay, while a smaller area is made up of deeper gravel. “If we want to find the right balance between freshness of fruit and the dry spells, we need some water,” Clouet smiled matter-of-factly. One of the most significant developments here in recent years is the degree of precision viticulture that is now practiced at Cheval Blanc. For example, the 39-hectare vineyard has been subdivided and is now farmed as 45 different plots, based on grape variety, age of vines and soil type. To accommodate these separately managed plots, the new cellar contains 52 vats available in nine different sizes (20 hectoliters to 110 hectoliters), designed to correspond to the harvest from each plot, which are vinified separately. This affords a whole other level of control when it comes to selection and, ultimately, ensuring consistency of quality. “From 2016 we have a little Cabernet Sauvignon in the blend as we did historically, but it disappeared when the plots were replanted,” Clouet went on to tell me. “We replanted 1.4 hectares in 2014 and will start using it in the blends, looking to achieve about 5% eventually.”" (WA)

"The 2016 Cheval Blanc is one of the most beguiling wines of the vintage. Constantly changing in the glass, the 2016 is at once wonderfully refined and yet also quite powerful. Dark cherry, espresso, spice, leather, tobacco, mint and lavender give the 2016 tremendous aromatic presence. On the palate, the 2016 is rich, exotic and persistent, with real staying power and captivating balance. Pierre Lurton, Pierre-Olivier Clouet and the team at Cheval Blanc turned out a masterpiece in 2016. Don't miss it." (VM) (10/11)

"This is very powerful Cheval with searing tannins and bright fruit, acidity and mineral undertones. Full and muscular yet beautifully formed and polished. It’s all about the form to this. Better than 2015." (JS)

"97–99. Barrel Sample. Fruit and tannins have combined so harmoniously in this impressive, magnificent wine. The acidity shoots through to give considerable freshness, lifting the blackberry fruit. What makes the wine though are the tannins, which support the marvelous fruit. It will obviously age for many, many years." (WE)

"Rose petals, spice, kirsch, earth, smoky black cherries, wet earth and forest leaves. On the palate, the wine is silky, pure, fresh and vibrant. There is an elegance, charm, refinement and precision to this more structured, classic example of Cheval Blanc. You will want to age this for at least a decade before popping a bottle. The wine was made using 59.5% Merlot, 37.5% Cabernet Franc and 3.3% Cabernet Sauvignon. This is the first vintage in 10 years that any Cabernet Sauvignon was used in the blend. The wine reached 14.25% alcohol with a pH of 3.67 and the harvest took place September 20 to October 12. The Grand Vin represents 77% of the harvest. 6043 Views Tasted Apr 29, 2017" (JL)