Chateau Cheval Blanc   Le Petit Cheval

2012 Le Petit Cheval

By Chateau Cheval Blanc

2012 Le Petit Cheval from Château Cheval Blanc, Saint-Émilion, Bordeaux

The 2012 vintage was a testament to the deft craftsmanship at the prestigious Château Cheval Blanc, where the fickle whims of nature were elegantly mastered to produce a refined Le Petit Cheval. With Saint-Émilion’s climatic roulette wheel spinning with voracity that year, the resulting vintage for the esteemed estate not only captured the essence of their terroir but also revealed the adaptive ingenuity of their vintners.


A Tapestry of Taste Reflecting a Challenging Vintage

Thunderous spring rains and a temperamental growing season could have spelled disaster for lesser hands. Instead, the 2012 Le Petit Cheval emerges as a celebration of survival and finesse. It boasts a complex bouquet, where subtle dark fruit aromas interlace with earthy undertones - evidence of the damp, yet fruitful conditions.

On the palate, the wine's structure is impeccably balanced, leading with merlot’s plushness tamed by cabernet franc’s integrity; a harmony that is both enduring and endearing. The contribution of each varietal embodies an interplay of strength and sensitivity that only Château Cheval Blanc could orchestrate so deftly in such challenging circumstances.


A Vintage Embracing Patience and Potential

Likened to a scholar whose intellect is realized with patience, the 2012 Le Petit Cheval is undeniably approachable now yet promises further revelations with age. The vintage exudes a poised potentiality promising gains for both palate and portfolio – a rare find for oenophiles and investors alike.

The moderate tannins suggest that while currently approachable, there is ample structure to warrant cellaring. This wine investment invites anticipation for elegance further unfurled in time; an asset in any connoisseur's collection.

In sum, those who seek to diversify their hedonistic holdings or enhance their enological experiences would do well to consider the 2012 Le Petit Cheval from Château Cheval Blanc; a testament to triumph over tribulation in Saint-Émilion.

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Scores and tasting notes


A wine with delicious fruit and fine tannins. Medium-to-full body, with lovely fine tannins. Long, long finish. Very juicy and delicious now. 75% Cabernet Franc, 25% Merlot.

James Suckling -, April 21st 2013


The Le Petit Cheval is a blend of 25% Merlot and 75% Cabernet Franc, it has an understated bouquet that is quite ripe with hints of iodine developing with time. The palate is medium-bodied with quite 'thick' tannins, the Cabernet Franc offering a grainy texture, noticeable brine and tobacco accents developing towards the structured, quite linear finish. Though a second wine, I suspect this will deserve two or three years bottle age. Tasted April 2013.

Neal Martin - Wine Journal May 2013


Tasted blind at the Southwold Bordeaux tasting. The 2012 Le Petit Cheval has a low-key nose that might be lost in the crowd of its more ostentatious peers, but it is well-defined with beautifully integrated oak, briary and graphite aromas developing with aeration. The palate is medium-bodied with crisp tannin, a keen line of acidity and an almost Left Bank finish that deserves a round of applause. Under blind conditions, I was not the only one to give this one of my most positive comments against the "big boys." Not to be underestimated. Tasted January 2016.

Neal Martin - The Wine Advocate, 28 October 2016


The second wine, the 2012 Le Petit Cheval, is composed of 75% Cabernet Franc and 25% Merlot. Straightforward, elegant, fruity, racy and classy, it lacks a touch of weight, mid-palate depth and length. Nevertheless, there is plenty to like. It should drink nicely upon release and last for a decade thereafter.

Robert Parker Jr - Wine Advocate #206

Vintage performance