Chateau Cheval Blanc
Louis Vuitton Moët Hennesy (LMVH)
Bernard Arnault and Baron Albert Frère
Annual Production (Grand Vin)
Le Petit Cheval
In 2010 Château Cheval Blanc smashed the world record for the most expensive bottle of wine ever sold when an 1947 Imperial sold for over $300,000 at Christies.
The name Chateau Cheval Blanc conjures up for many an image of the very epitome of luxury. It has been ranked among the crème de la crème of Saint-Émilion winemakers since the beginning, and until 2011 was one of only two chateaux to hold the classification of Premier Grand Cru Classé A.
Whilst the extraordinary wines produced at Cheval Blanc have cultivated an extraordinary reputation for quality, the takeover of the estate by LMVH has enhanced its prestige even further. CEO Bernard Arnault, considered one of the most influential tastemakers in the world of fine wine and other luxury goods holds a 50% personal stake in the chateau. He is the man behind the curtain at Krug, Château D’Yquem and Moët-Hennesy.
With co-owner Baron Frère, the richest man in Belgium, Château Cheval Blanc has become a byword for style and quality. The global brand now includes an exclusive hotel in a prestigious Alpine resort, The Cheval Blanc Hotel of Courchevel 1850, with further hotel openings planned under the Cheval Blanc name in Paris, Oman and Egypt.
The near-mythical aura that surrounds the château has led its wine to become one of the most highly prized anywhere and prices continue to reflect this. Vintages that have attained legendary status include the 1921 and 1947, with the latter particularly sought after yet elusive. In 2010, an imperial-sized bottle of this vintage set a new record for the highest priced bottle of wine ever sold, making $304,580 at auction.
Château Cheval Blanc 1947 has consistently been scored 100-points in tastings by Robert Parker. The wines are particularly well-known for their ageing potential, lasting 50 years or more, the 1921 being a case in point. The Grand Vin a firm favourite with critics worldwide who appreciate the no-expense-spared, artisan approach to winemaking which LMVH ownership allows.
The wines have an almost Pomerol character, due to the vineyards position, bordering Château L’Evangile with a unique flavour thanks to the unusually high proportion of Cabernet Franc grapes grown there.
Chateau Cheval Blanc is one of the most enigmatic châteaux in the entire Bordeaux region. The germ of the estate sprouted during the sale of land from Chateau Figeac, in which a large portion of high quality land was bought by the Ducasse family and fell into the hands of the Laussac-Foucards as part of a bridal dowry arrangement in 1852.
The Laussac-Foucards took good care of the estate and it was spared the devastation that befell many vinyards through the economic depression and phylloxera plague, putting the newly-named Cheval Blanc in a competitive position. It won medals at the London and Paris International Exhibitions in 1862 and 1867, depictions of which still grace the Grand Vin label today.
The estate remained in the hands of the same family throughout the 20th century, until 1998 when it drew the eye of luxury goods behemoth LMVH who purchased Cheval Blanc for an unknown sum and have run it ever since, hiring Pierre Lurton to manage the estate.