Château Cheval Blanc 2019
• Domaine: Château Cheval Blanc
• Appellation: Saint-Emilion
• Classification: Premier Grand Cru Classé A
• Origin: Right Bank, Bordeaux, France
• Importer: Laguna Cellar
Château Cheval Blanc is a property that needs no introduction. The wines of Cheval Blanc have been described as, “the finest cashmere,” and “elegance in motion,” by Pierre Lurton who oversees this Saint-Émilion Premiere Grand Cru Classé A Estate. Though the estate has never been ranked in the 1855 Classification, Château Cheval Blanc produces wines with quality that is on par with Left Bank First Growths. Though the wines of Château Cheval Blanc are considered some of the best in all of Bordeaux, if you ask any member of the team at the property, they will humbly tell you it is all about terroir.
Château Cheval Blanc has some of the best terroir on the Right Bank – and a lot of that is due to the mosaic of different soil types at the property. Straddling the border between Pomerol and Saint-émilion, Cheval Blanc shares the same strip of blue clay as the Pomerol legend, Château Pétrus and has the same gravel as the outstanding Château Figeac. The vignerons use this patchwork of different soil types to their advantage, ingeniously planting the optimum clones in the perfect soil and carefully tending to all 237,228 vines as if they were their own children. The result is legendary wine, year after year.
The first known document where Château Cheval Blanc was referenced was a contract in 1546. It was a part of a vast property that encompassed Château Figeac. Even then, the terroir was prized as some of the best in the Right Bank. During the French Revolution, two vignerons tended to Cheval Blanc’s vineyards because the terroir was so extraordinary – a highly unusual occurrence.
In 1832 the Ducasse family purchased the terroir from Château Figeac and at the time it was named, “Le Barrail de Cailloux,” or “The Barrel of Tiny Stones.” Château Cheval Blanc changed hands a couple times through marriage – as was traditional at the time – and was eventually acquired by Jean Laussac Fourad. Fourad wanted to create the best wine in Saint-Émilion and knew with the terroir of Château Cheval Blanc, anything was possible. The wines were initially bottled and sold off under the name Château Figeac, but after competing against the Médoc First Growths and winning awards at exhibitions in London and Paris, the name was changed to Château Cheval Blanc – "The House of the White Horse."
In 1998 Château Cheval Blanc was acquired by Bernard Arnault and Baron Albert Frere who brought on Pierre Lurton of the famous Lurton family to manage the property, in addition to overseeing other top estates such as Château d'Yquem. Under Pierre’s keen eye, the vines at Cheval Blanc are meticulously managed year after year, with the same vineyard worker assigned to the same vine. This is done so the worker develops familiarity with that particular vine. The fruit here is picked, “al dente,” or just underripe so grapes of differing phenolic ripeness can be blended to increase complexity to the wine. The wines are vinified in their state-of-the-art gravity flow vat room.
Château Cheval Blanc was one of the few producers to refrain from dispatching barrel samples of the 2019 vintage to wine critics around the world via courier during the COVID-19 Pandemic. They view this as a necessary measure to ensure uniform impressions of wine. At the risk of overzealous stage managing, they find such caution warranted in order to safeguard the integrity of their brand. Please stay tuned for tasting notes once the wine is available.
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