Chateau Cheval Blanc   Cheval Blanc

1996 Cheval Blanc

By Chateau Cheval Blanc

1996 Cheval Blanc from Chateau Cheval Blanc, Saint-Emilion, Bordeaux

The fortunes of Saint-Emilion ebbed with the seasons during the pivotal year of 1996, a challenging but ultimately rewarding vintage where the meticulous artistry at Chateau Cheval Blanc rendered a result that resonates with collectors and investors alike. The 1996 Cheval Blanc stands as a testament to exceptional winemaking in an often unpredictable climate.


An Exquisite Tapestry of Terroir and Tenacity

In this vintage, one finds the indomitable spirit of Bordeaux's Right Bank, a region where only the most resilient and skilled winemakers triumph. Though the growing conditions in 1996 deviated from the norm, resulting in smaller yields and a need for exacting selection, Chateau Cheval Blanc rose commendably to the occasion. The harvest demanded precision; grapes were picked with laborious care to ensure only the flawless bunches contributed their essence to the wine.


Investment-Worthy Elegance

For those who seek out eminently investable wines, the 1996 Cheval Blanc is a venerated addition to any connoisseur's portfolio. Its palette is perhaps more reticent in its youth than other years, a discreetly honed balance of Merlot and Cabernet Franc that has blossomed over time into a dignified ensemble of aromas: truffles, cherry compote, and a whiff of cedar box.

The palate remains youthful yet intricately matured; it boasts of intricate layers just beginning to unfurl undernotes of cigar box, sweet plums, and spices - an articulate reflection of the gravel and clay soil it was birthed from. The tannins have rounded appreciably, giving rise to exceptionally smooth prolonged finishes that invigorate the enthusiast's palate and hearten the astute investor.

Two and a half decades later, the 1996 Cheval Blanc from Chateau Cheval Blanc resolutely maintains its status amongst the elite of Saint-Emilion wines. An extraordinary example of resilience and expertise interlaced in vinous form, this vintage is not only an experience for oenophiles but a profound statement in wine investment circles. Savour its continued ascent as it steadily claims its rightful place among Bordeaux legends.

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Highest score


POP score


Scores and tasting notes


The elegant, moderately weighted 1996 Cheval Blanc reveals a deep garnet/plum, evolved color. Quintessentially elegant, with a complex nose of black fruits, coconut, smoke, and pain grille, this medium-bodied wine exhibits sweet fruit on the attack, substantial complexity, and a lush, velvety-textured finish. It is very soft and evolved for a 1996. Anticipated maturity: 2000-2015.

Robert Parker Jr - Wine Advocate #122 April 1999


Tasted at the château, the 1996 Cheval Blanc was a majority of Cabernet Franc although the exact blend is not known. Firstly, the color is a healthy garnet with a mahogany rim. The bouquet has good intensity although it is certainly not a complex set of aromas: dusky black fruit, game, clove and a faint touch of hickory. The palate is quite sharp on the entry with noticeable acidity. My main criticism is a lack of cohesion and a lack of Merlot to bind everything together and lend fleshiness. It seems to be rather monochromatic, a Cheval Blanc with a single note, the finish conservative with a touch of black pepper and cooked meat, but a little frayed around the edges. I would drink bottles now and maybe larger formats would yield more pleasure. The bottom line is this is not one of the great Cheval Blancs and that is reflected in my score. Tasted July 2016.

Neal Martin - The Wine Advocate, 28 October 2016


A very disappointing wine after the gorgeous Cheval Blanc 1995. The nose is reticent, unresolved with woody, smoky scents. Similarly the palate is rather disjointed with some under-ripeness on the mid-palate. Linear with a thin weedy finish. Very ordinary. Shown up for what it is at this horizontal comparative tasting. Tasted September 2005.

Neal Martin - Wine Advocate - Wine Journal

Vintage performance