You will easily find Cheval Blanc after leaving the village of Catusseau, then passing Petit Village and L'Evangile on the left before turning right on the junction and taking the way to Saint-Emilion. After a few hundred meters, you notice a big vineyard on the left with an imposing cellar built several years ago.
My first ever visit to Cheval Blanc took place in September 1985, the same year I accidentally ran into Jacques Thienpont from Le Pin, and it was Jacques Hebrard and his famous dog (the same dog who did bite wine-guru Robert Parker) who welcomed me. However, this visit included only 3 minutes of "sightseeing" in the cellar and no wine tasting. Fortunately, I've managed to revisit and taste Cheval Blanc many times since then.
The soil of Cheval Blanc is quite remarkable as it's three different types. Clay soil, mainly because Cheval Blanc is bordering Pomerol (only a minor road, 3-4 meters wide), separates Cheval Blanc and Pomerol, and then two more typical soils of St.Emilion, fine gravel with sand and gravelly one with large stones. The vineyard is 39 ha big and planted with 49% Cabernet Franc, 47% Merlot, and 4% Cabernet Sauvignon. There are 45 plots, and each parcel is vinified separately depending on quality and importance.
It's not easy to assess Cheval Blanc, and I've experienced several vintages where this wine tastes light from the barrel and doesn't show all its qualities. But Cheval Blanc transforms to a lethal one while in the bottle, showing why it's one of Bordeaux's all-time best wines.
There is a podcast in English explaining the aspects of winemaking at Cheval Blanc - links:
Harvest 2011 at Cheval Blanc.
2022 Cheval Blanc (barrel sample) 98-100p
Tasted in April 2023. 46% C. Franc, 53% Merlot, and 1% C. Sauvignon, no press wine, no second wine. 13.9% alcohol. The yield was under 30hl/ha. It offered plenty of aromatic violets and creamy redcurrants/raspberries and was impeccably structured on the palate with fabulous midpalate and silky texture. Vibrant and with stunning richness. Eternal effort. 98-100p.
2021 Cheval Blanc (barrel sample) 96+p
Tasted in April 2022. 43% Merlot, 52% C. Franc and 5% C. Sauvignon. 13.3% alcohol. Low yield of 28 hl/ha due to mildew. A late harvest ended in mid-October. A lighter version of the wine from this property, subtle and elegant, fragrant violets and redcurrants/raspberries, impeccably structured on the palate with splendid midpalate and silky texture. Gorgeous effort.
2020 Cheval Blanc 98-99p
Tasted twice - last time in April 2023. Consistent notes.60% Merlot, 34% C. Franc and 5% C. Sauvignon. Violets and black cherries, creamy berries, and grained tannin. Great complexity. Great mid-palate, sophisticated, and with many layers. Ultralong finish. As exceptionel as 2019.
2019 Cheval Blanc 98-99p
Tasted in November 2021. 58% Merlot, 34% C. Franc and 8% C. Sauvignon. Distinguished and intensely aromatic nose of violets and raspberries. Very refined and sophisticated on the palate with great structure, richness, and mega long aftertaste. Simply an extraordinary effort.
2018 Cheval Blanc 98-99p
Tasted twice - last time in December 2020. Consistent notes. 54% Merlot, 40% Cabernet Franc and 6% Cabernet Sauvignon. Immensely refined, sophisticated, distinguished nose, aromatic, great structure and richness, and mega long aftertaste. Simply an extraordinary effort. For me, it surpasses 2016, and Cabernet Franc was phenomenal in 2018!
2017 Cheval Blanc 96p
Tasted twice - last time in October 2019. Consistent notes. This property lost one-third of its vines due to frost in 2017 and ended with a yield per ha at 21 hl. It's, of course, lighter in concentration and intensity than 2016 and 2015 but possesses pure elegance and finesse, sophisticated touch, and splendid complexity. In October 2019, after bottling, it tasted more powerful and longer on the palate than from the barrel in April 2018.
2016 Cheval Blanc 97-98p
Tasted twice - last time in April 2019. Consistent notes. This wine was sophisticated and refined, with finesse, incredibly complex, rich, velvety texture, great structure, and long aftertaste. Very impressive.
2015 Cheval Blanc (barrel sample) 97+p
Tasted in April 2016. This wine showed pure elegance and finesse, great richness and depth, sophisticated touch, and velvety texture. Great concentration and length. Incredibly stylish and classy wine, which imho will improve from further aging in barrels.
2014 Cheval Blanc 95+p
Tasted twice - last time in April 2017. Consistent notes. Succulent and refined wine with great complexity, well-constructed with great depth, length, and smooth and fleshy finish. This wine has immense potential and can keep for several decades.
2013 Cheval Blanc (barrel sample) 92p
Tasted in April 2014. This wine had silky fruit and tannin, light texture, delicate structure, complexity, and length. Elegant style with finesse here. 92p. Tasting Cheval Blanc from the barrel is always tricky, as this wine tends to appear light and diluted, but it's only a disguise. It usually starts gaining weight and develops complexity and richness when in the bottle, but it remains to be seen if it happens here.
2012 Cheval Blanc 94p
Tasted twice - last time in November 2015. Consistent notes. From barrel not unlike 2013 vintage, soft and light-textured. In November 2015, I saw a significant improvement and proof that this property often undergoes a big change when in the bottle. Great aromatic nose, exquisite with finesse, better fruit intensity now, and silky fruit/tannin.
2011 Cheval Blanc 96p
Tasted twice - last time in April 2016. Consistent notes. This wine was silky with excellent intensity and complexity, fabulous structure and depth, a lot of richness, finesse, and sophisticated touch. Persistent and caressing finish.
Pierre-Olivier Clouet, Cheval Blanc's technical director since 2008, with two wine jewels, 2010 and 2009 Cheval Blanc. April 2014
2010 Cheval Blanc 100p
Tasted twice - last time in April 2014. Consistent notes. The 2010 had more intensity of flavors than the 2009 version, the same mix of cherries and grated chocolate, fatter tannin, the same refinement, and sophisticated touch. Liquid velvet or liquid silk, you choose. Heavenly stuff.
2009 Cheval Blanc 98-99p
Tasted three times - last time in May 2019. Not consistent notes. A bit bland from the barrel but changed much for the better after bottling. In April 2014, this wine had a great aromatic nose of black cherries mixed with grated Valrhona chocolate, excellent acidity and minerality, velvety structure, strong backbone, fruit, and tannin with ideal ripeness and fatness. Great sophisticated touch to this wine. Amazing stuff. In May 2019, it was still young and a bit closed, but with great potential.
2008 Cheval Blanc 96p
Tasted twice - last time in September 2015. Consistent notes. Pierre Olivier Clouet's first vintage. From the barrel, it was imposing caused by perfect maturity for Cabernet Franc in this vintage. Plenty of perfectly ripe fruit, silky ripe tannins, pure elegance, finesse, and sophisticated touch combined with excellent balance and a long smooth finish. In September 2015, this wine was just as perfect.
2007 Cheval Blanc (barrel sample) 92p
Tasted in March 2008. It had cherry and raspberry drops on the nose, delicate aromas, fine intensity, fine depth, concentration, and length on the palate. A fine effort for the vintage.
2006 Cheval Blanc 93-94p
Tasted twice - last time in September 2015. Not consistent notes. It was a wonderfully refined and elegant wine from the barrel with great finesse. Beautifully composed, rich, and with an excellent future. In September 2014, this wine was intense, quite tannic with not perfectly ripe tannin, truffy and firm aftertaste.
2005 Cheval Blanc (barrel sample) 97-100p
Tasted in March 2006. This wine was more full-bodied than usual, fatter and richer, and acted as an incredibly refined, incredibly well-composed, and subtle wine with sheer elegance. At least 25-30 years long life. Fantastic stuff.
2001 Cheval Blanc 93+p (barrel sample)
Tasted in March 2002. A bit lighter than usual but has a beautiful aristocratic style, finesse, and excellent balance. Soft and lingering finish. It will probably put on weight when in the bottle.
2000 Cheval Blanc 100p
Tasted twice - last time in May 2019. It displayed lots of blueberries, blackberries, and dark cherries. Silky and soft tannin and gorgeous sweetness of the fruit. Magnificent depth, numerous nuances, and refinement combined with fantastic length on the palate. Impeccably made wine that will delight wine-lowers for decades because of its exceptional balance. This was in 2003 when this wine was just a baby. Sixteen years later, this wine is still kicking ass, monumental, timeless, and seamless. At least 50 years more to experience a dream of the vintage!
1998 Cheval Blanc 98p
Tasted in September 2000. An incredibly complex and refined nose of perfectly ripe fruit. Incredible structure, depth, and richness on the palate. Very sophisticated wine and great delicacy.
1990 Cheval Blanc 98p
Tasted twice - last time in December 2016. Consistent notes. Very dark color. Very deep, intense, and complex nose of perfectly ripe blueberries, raspberries, and blackcurrants, refined and with finesse. Incredible depth, richness, and length. Star-studded wine.
1985 Cheval Blanc 95p
Tasted four times - last time in November 2015. Consistent notes. The structure was intense and tight, with great complexity and breathtaking richness, perfectly ripe fruit, fat and ripe tannin, and long-lasting and lingering aftertaste. A stunning effort for the vintage! This was when it tasted in June 1993. 22.5 years later - truffles, very refined, sophisticated, and elegant. It shows some age. It's, however, still a perfect sip.
1983 Cheval Blanc 95p
Tasted twice - last time in March 2021. Consistent notes. Strong and intense nose of raspberries, powerful on the palate, yet with great finesse and elegance, great complexity and depth. It is ringing the bell.
1981 Cheval Blanc 94p
Tasted in November 2019. Delicate and sophisticated, fresh, elegant, and long. Great complexity and a long aftertaste. Just think what a wine it could be if the rain didn't arrive during harvest. Anyway, we have excellent wine here.
1975 Cheval Blanc 94p
Tasted in February 2020. A full-bodied wine with some leek and green leaves flavors indicates Cabernet Franc's huge content in the wine. Great complexity and balance, typical Right Bank wine, sophisticated, rich, and elegant. Impressive stuff. 52% Cabernet Franc here + 48% Merlot. Low yield in this vintage, only 21.5 hl/ha.
1973 Cheval Blanc 87p
Tasted in November 2019. Much older in color and taste than 1981 tasted aside in the same flight. Light, some complexity present, tasty, and soft. Pleasant fruity aftertaste. Still alive.
1971 Cheval Blanc 95-96p
Tasted twice - last time in October 2019. Consistent notes. A sweet nose of dark cherries and fresh tannin is resolved fine on the palate. Sweet fruit, forest soil, finishes fruity with great elegance and refinement. Excellent wine with pure grace and style.
1970 Cheval Blanc 91p
Tasted in February 2020. A finely structured wine with splendid complexity, fine structure, well-balanced, and a long finish. Very enjoyable. Not among the very best wines from this property, imho, but it certainly has style.
1964 Cheval Blanc 95p
Tasted twice - last time in March 2021. Consistent notes. A delicate and distinguished nose of red fruit, intense on the nose and palate, sweet bacon, excellent sweetness and balance, lingering aftertaste. Sublime wine. Better bottle in March 2021 than in October 2014, Truffles and extraordinary complexity.
1959 Cheval Blanc 97p
Danish bottling by Kjær & Sommerfeldt in Copenhagen from barrels sold by French negociant Cruse. Tasted in February 2014. Incredible sweetness on the nose and palate, pure, astonishingly rich, and deep, sophisticated with great complexity and balance. This wine is a heavenly treat!
1953 Cheval Blanc 97p
Tasted twice - last time in November 2019. Consistent notes. Irresistible wine with great sweetness, sophisticated stuff, and extraordinary richness. I can keep it for many years yet. The tasting took place in June 1992. Twenty-seven years later, this wine still was something unique. Seamlessly structured, rich, and strikingly sophisticated with stunning complexity and finish. It can probably keep forever!!
1952 Cheval Blanc 93p
Tasted in October 2014. Truffles, dark chocolate, cherries, sappy, well-defined, rich, and great length. It could have more depth. At 62, this wine seemed to have more still to show in a few years!
1950 Cheval Blanc 96p
Tasted in November 2021. An extremely dark color for the vintage! Black winter truffle, grated dark chocolate, and espresso coffee. Incredibly well-knitted on the palate. It was a sophisticated delicacy and confirmed this vintage's exceptional fame (Right Bank). Fantastic treat!
1949 Cheval Blanc 98-99p
Tasted in December 1988. Incredibly complex and sweet on the nose. Creamy fruit in large quantities. What vitality and energy this wine had! A living legend.
1947 Cheval Blanc 99-100p
Tasted in December 1988. Incredible intensity and concentration of fruit and sweetness. Mindboggling structure, depth, midpalate, and complexity. An aftertaste to remember forever. Legendary wine from a legendary vintage!
1946 Cheval Blanc 93p
Tasted in November 2021. While tasted, this wine initially had some volatile flavors, but after 1 hour in the glass, they disappeared, and the wine flourished. We got some refined and sublime treatment of high quality. Sheer delight!