Cheval Blanc 2016

St Emilion, Premier Grand Cru Classé A

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Tasting Notes

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.

Score: 98

Antonio Galloni, Vinous.com Maturity: 2026-2066 01 January 2019

A wine of precision and extraordinary beauty, the 2016 Cheval Blanc is also one of the highlights of the year. In the glass, it is precise, delicate and understated. Hints of espresso, plum, spice and wild cherry all develop in the glass, but it is the wine's feel and vivid personality that stand out most. I expect the 2016 will put on weight during its aging, both in barrel and later in bottle. It is an absolutely stunning wine in every way.

Score: 96 - 99

Antonio Galloni, Vinous.com 25 April 2017

The 2016 Cheval Blanc is the first year that replanted Cabernet Sauvignon was included in the Grand Vin. This has an intense, tightly wound bouquet that unwinds with aeration, maintaining stunning delineation and precision and offering scents of blackberry, briar and graphite and a faint hint of dark chocolate. The palate is very harmonious, precise and classic in style, and a little spicier than I recall from barrel. The oak is seamlessly integrated, and the pixelated, fresh, marine-tinged finish lingers in the mouth. Wow! Very different from the more rounded 2015 Cheval Blanc, though this might end up being the more classic but cerebral proposition.

Score: 98

Neal Martin, Vinous.com Maturity: 2026-2070 01 January 2019

The 2016 Cheval Blanc is a blend of 59% Merlot, 38% Cabernet Franc and (the return of) 3% Cabernet Sauvignon from the gravel soils since in this vintage the vines showed absolutely no stress. It delivers 14.25% alcohol with an IPT of 75 and a pH 3.67, which Pierre Lurton told me is a little lower than normal. As usual, it is matured in 100% new oak. It has a very pure, correct and quite penetrating bouquet with black cherries, blackcurrant, graphite and a touch of wild mint. It is bashful at first but opens with confidence with aeration (incidentally, I allowed my sample 40 minutes to open). The palate is medium-bodied with filigree tannin and a killer line of acidity that imparts so much freshness from the starting gun. That soupçon on Cabernet Sauvignon does make a difference, lending a subtle vein of graphite that runs throughout the wine. It remains linear, with laser-like focus towards the extraordinarily persistent finish, pencil lead on the "HB" aftertaste. This is a classic and intellectual Cheval Blanc, not as charming perhaps as the 2015 Cheval Blanc, but it will unquestionably age gracefully over decades not years.

Score: 97 - 99

Neal Martin, Wine Advocate Maturity: 2024-2060 28 April 2017

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.

Score: 100

Lisa Perotti-Brown MW, Wine Advocate Maturity: 2023-2070 30 November 2018

Another excellent Cheval, this is a wine that every year stands among the greatest in the region. The main impression is of a softly-spun silky texture with complete focus and clarity through the palate. There is some of the density of 2010 here, with the florality of 2005. Gorgeous. Many people spent a long time picking in 2016, but at Cheval Blanc everything came in within just 10 days, rather unusually picking grapes on gravel and clay at the same time. The blend is 59% Merlot, 38% Cabernet Franc and 3% Cabernet Sauvignon aged in 100% new oak.

Score: 98

Decanter Maturity: 2027-2050 21 April 2017

59.5% Merlot, 37% Cabernet Franc, 3.5% Cabernet Sauvignon. Deeply coloured with expressive dark fruits, floral notes and a hint of coconut. The palate is cool and satiny with a dense core of fruit and minerals, very precise and calm with brilliant freshness.

Score: 96 - 98

Albany Vintners 19 April 2017

The property is divided into 45 different plots and each plot has made some grand vin in the last five years. This is from 33 plots. 38% Cabernet Franc, 59% Merlot. The remaining 3% is Cabernet Sauvignon, from a parcel that has been replanted with Cabernet Franc successively. But they have decided to recover this gravelly plot by the road to St-Émilion with Cabernet Sauvignon. This is the first year it's in the grand vin as a reflection of the traditional assemblage of Cheval Blanc. Tasty floral start and then quite rich. A bit of grainy astringency (from those concrete vats?) in terms of texture - by no means unpleasant. Lots of floral notes, hint of putty and then lovely richness underneath. Quite a contrast between nose and palate. Smudgy palate and precise nose. Tannins really present on the end. Very floral on the nose. Big gap! Not sweet!! (18.5+ Points)

Score: 18 - 19

Jancis Robinson MW, JancisRobinson.com Maturity: 2028-2045 13 April 2017

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.

Score: 98 - 99

James Suckling, JamesSuckling.com 04 April 2017