On Wednesday this week, the Vinum UK team tasted through a range of wines from the Cheval Blanc stable with Pierre-Olivier Clouet, Technical Director at the estate. It was a wonderful insight into these wines, not just to taste them but also to hear and understand more about the philosophy of the team.
Some key snippets of info we gathered and wanted to share:
Cheval Blanc is located alongside Figeac it is located right on the border with Pomerol, and there is a huge diversity of soils across the site.
Predominantly there are three main soil groups of gravel, sand and clay and these are further classified to give 10 soil types.
There is always a high proportion of Cab Franc in the blend, more than 50%, with only Ausone and Lafleur also having this level of Cab Franc.
Interestingly, Cabernet Franc is the parent of both Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.
Age of vines is mainly 20-50 years old although there are some that older than 60 years.
The vineyard is planted to 55% Cab Franc, 5% Cab Sauvignon and 40% Merlot.
There are 53 individual plots that are picked and vinified separately. These are then blended together by the 3 person team during the assemblage.
The wines tasted by the team:
2018 Quinault L’Enclos
Estate was purchased in 2008, style used to be much more ‘Parkerized’ but not any more. This is fresh, supple and elegant, quite exotic on the nose with lovely oak integration, hints of exotic spice and good strong core of dark fruits and peppery detail on the finish. Drinking beautifully right now. Blend is 70% Merlot, 15% Cab Franc, 15% Cab Sauv.
2020 Petit Cheval
Very youthful appearance, real deep and vivid intensity of purple. Petit Cheval very hard to understand. It doesn’t have any dedicated plots, sometimes there is barely any, sometimes there is more. The wine exists to make Cheval Blanc better. Sweet fruits and alluring on the nose, intense and ripe with plenty of crunchy tannic structure. Great length, the ’20 is a strong showing in its own right.
2018 Cheval Blanc
Exotic spice on the nose, another level of complexity and almost a marine-like freshness playing against the core of dark fruit. A touch of meatiness on the palate, plenty going on as the wine opens up in the glass and a supreme balance between the tannin, acidity and a creamy, rich mouthfeel. Finishes very fresh. So much potential here.
2012 Cheval Blanc
55% Merlot in the blend here, showing much more maturity on the nose but more youthful vibrancy on the palate and there is a lot going on. Plenty of dried herbs, mint, almost lactic but where it feels a little broad on the palate, it quickly tightens up and finishes in a linear way. An elegant, almost austere Cheval Blanc.
2006 Cheval Blanc
Serious nose, developing beautifully. There is the sweetness of oak, drying Mediterranean herbs and the spices of tobacco with a little violet perfume also coming through. This is charming, though still structured finishing with that tobacco again, some liquorice and green almond.
2020 Le Petit Cheval Blanc
The aim here was to produce a red wine that just happened to be white. 22 months on the lees, fermentation in foudre and wooden vats. 80% Sauvignon Blanc and 20% Semillon, this is very Sauvignon on the nose but the palate has a wonderful roundness and body, almost creamy where that 20% of Semillon really comes in. These grapes are from the historic La Tour du Pin Figeac vineyard.
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