Cheval Blanc 2017
Tasting Notes Cheval Blanc 2017
This is tight and very tannic with a linear and steely backbone of texture. Full-bodied, compacted and complete. Muscular and flexing it but polished and toned. Wow. There is 6% cabernet sauvignon in the blend, which may be giving this even more strength. Very, very long. Very Left Bank in terms of the power and depth.
The 2017 Cheval Blanc bristles with tension. Because of severe frost damage, in 2017, the Grand Vin includes a high percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon (14%), from gravelly soils, which gives the wine very unusual flavor and structure profile. Vibrant and pulsing with a real sense of direction, the 2017 is going to need a number of years to be at its very best. Even so, it is an utterly fascinating wine. The blend is 56% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Franc and 14% Cabernet Sauvignon, aging in 100% new oak.
The 2017 Cheval Blanc is composed of 56% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Franc and 14% Cabernet Sauvignon—an unusually high percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon for this wine. Deep garnet-purple colored, it opens slowly to reveal a gorgeous lilacs, roses, licorice and black truffles nose over a compelling core of cassis, warm plums, wild blueberries and cigar box plus a waft of wood smoke. Medium to full-bodied, firm and earthy in character on the palate, it packs in tightly wound fruits and mineral accents, culminating in a long, perfumed finish. 50,000 bottles are to be produced.
The 2017 Cheval Blanc comes from 97% first generation grapes and 3% second generation from two-thirds of the vineyard, using a sorting table to select the ripest berries that were matured separately in small vats. The rejected second generation were sold off in bulk and not blended into the deuxième vin. There is a high percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon and comparatively lower percentage of Cabernet Franc due to the frost damage. So this is a more Left Bank Cheval Blanc using more the gravel soils than clay since the latter are colder. It has a tightly wound, almost Saint Estèphe-inspired bouquet, with fresh blackberry, cedar, wet clay and light iris-like aromas. The palate is medium-bodied with fine tannin, masculine in style, less corpulent than the 2015 or 2016, stricter and more linear, a “cool” Cheval Blanc that eschews the florality of previous vintages with a saline, marine-tinged finish. This is a cerebral Cheval Blanc, not the greatest in recent years, but one of the most interesting to sit and think about (and then drink of course!)