Chateau Cheval Blanc   Le Petit Cheval

2011 Le Petit Cheval

By Chateau Cheval Blanc

2011 Le Petit Cheval from Château Cheval Blanc, Saint-Émilion, Bordeaux

Nestled in the fecund terroirs of Saint-Émilion, Château Cheval Blanc produced a vintage in 2011 that stands as a testament to the estate's resilience amidst challenging conditions. The 2011 Le Petit Cheval reveals how expertise and precise vineyard management can coax a wine that not only speaks of its noble heritage but also deftly reflects the peculiarities of its birth year.


A Vintage Balancing Act of Elegance and Vitality

The year 2011 was marked by contrasts: a precocious start with hot spring days, a summer-like April, and unforeseen dry spells interspersed with bouts of September rain that pushed winemakers to their limits. Yet, despite nature's caprices, Le Petit Cheval emerged with poise. This wine artfully embodies the struggle and triumph of its vintage – it is structured yet supple, with an inviting nose hinting at black cherries and fine spices adrift above an undercurrent of elegantly restrained oak.

The palpable tension between ripeness and acidity presents itself on the palate as a dance between plush merlot-driven fruitiness and the savory minerality characteristic of cabernet franc. A medium-bodied profile graces the tongue while fine tannins embroider a fabric that will allow this vintage to age gracefully yet appeal in its youth – a careful calibration for collectors and enthusiasts eyeing both near-term enjoyment and long-term investment potential.


An Investment Worthy of Patience

With each sip, 2011 Le Petit Cheval affirms its place within the pantheon of Bordeaux greats, offering an accessible window into the prestige of Château Cheval Blanc without the austerity some vintages command. It stands as one of those treasured vintages that captures the imagination, rewarding those who patiently observe its evolution in the cellar.

In summary, amidst the unpredictability of 2011, Le Petit Cheval has emerged not merely unscathed but triumphant – a compelling choice for discerning palates seeking to enrich their collection with a Saint-Émilion offering that encapsulates both the challenges and triumphs inherent in fine wine investment.

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Scores and tasting notes


A wine with pretty balance of fruit and spices, with berry, hazelnut and cocoa. Full to medium body, firm tannins and a fresh finish. Second wine of Cheval. Better in 2015.

James Suckling -, February 19th 2014


The quality of Cheval Blanc’s second wine continues to go from strength to strength. For example, the 2011 Le Petit Cheval reveals savory, high-brow nuances along with black currant, black cherry, spice box and mineral notes. Round, generous and medium-bodied, this sleeper of the vintage is ideal for drinking over the next decade or more.

Robert Parker Jr - The Wine Advocate, 29 April 2014


Representing just 20% of the total production (with 15% sold off in bulk), the Le Petit Cheval is a blend of 75% Merlot and 25% Cabernet Franc. It has a light, airy bouquet with dark berry fruit. There is just a touch of leafiness but it is fresh and well defined. The palate is a little chunky on the entry with grippy tannins. It is a little rustic and disjointed at the moment, although it should meld together with time. Leaving my glass for a few minutes it offers some attractive herbaceous/tertiary flavours towards the finish. This will probably drink over the next 5-8 years. Tasted April 2012.

Neal Martin - Wine Journal May 2012


The 2011 Le Petit Cheval (75% Merlot and 25% Cabernet Franc) is very Pomerol-like (not surprising since this vineyard sits on the Pomerol/St.-Emilion border). Abundant notes of berries, leafy underbrush, currants, plums and a hint of Asian spices are found in this attractive, fruit-forward effort. Enjoy it over the next decade.

Robert Parker Jr - Wine Advocate #200

Vintage performance