*2004 Chateau Cheval Blanc
Chateau Cheval Blanc, Saint-Emilion Grand Cru, France 2004
This is certainly one of the stars of the vintage. With its solid tannins and dark, smoky character, it is going to be powerful, but with such elegance. The fruit flavors combine richness and freshness in fine harmony. (WE)
The 2004 Cheval Blanc has always been a wine that I felt needed patience on behalf of the wine lover, and so it is proving to be the case. Served blind I remarked upon a surprisingly Burgundy-like bouquet with ample red cherries, candied strawberry and redcurrant scents, the Merlot clearly more conspicuous than the Cabernet Franc, at least for now. The palate is medium-bodied with just a touch of coarseness on the entry. I appreciate the weight and balance here and belatedly the Cabernet Franc begins to express itself on the latter half, lending structure and grip, a dash of spice and a bit of sinew. Whilst it will never have the persistence of other vintages and regrettably continue to be dwarfed by the 2005, it remains a very fine Cheval Blanc from Pierre Lurton and his team. (RP)
What makes Cheval Blanc so unusual is three main soil types – fine textured with clay, more coarsely textured with gravel, and large gravel with sand – that constitute a veritable patchwork. This singular terroir is made up primarily of clay and large-size gravel in certain plots and sandy soil with smaller gravel in other parts. Some estates in Saint-Emilion have excellent gravelly soil, while others in Saint-Emilion and Pomerol have very good clay soils. Cheval Blanc, on the other hand, is blessed with both types of soil in fairly equal proportions.
The most is made of this natural advantage thanks to an original combination of grape varieties: 52% Cabernet Franc, 43% Merlot, and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon. Each plot has its own specific profile due to the age of the vines, surface area, kind of soil, type of rootstock and grape variety, etc. Therefore, it only follows that the wine produced from each plot has its own profile too.
The ones from clay soil are powerful with velvety tannin, while the ones from gravel soil are more aromatic and elegant. A blend of both results in a wine that is both powerful and elegant with expressive aromatics as well as the complexity of the greatest wines.