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2015 - 2030
29th Jul 2016
Interim End of July, The Wine Advocate
The 1983 Cheval Blanc, which incidentally was served from magnum, has consistently been one of the standout wines of the vintage. Here is one of the finest examples that I have encountered. Sure, its age can no longer be disguised thanks to its tawny-rimmed hue, but the aromatics burst full of red fruit, cigar box, beef stock and tobacco scents that immediately capture your senses. The palate is medium-bodied and very well balanced, underpinned by a keen line of acidity. There is so much freshness here after 30 years and yet it does not begrudge or disguise its age. Even from magnum, you feel that it is approaching the end of its drinking plateau, however there is still so much pleasure to be gained. Maintaining its savory core of fruit and meatiness, this remains a wonderful Cheval Blanc. Tasted March 2015.
This is a strong performance from the Cheval 1983, almost reaching the heights of the 1982. It retains that engaging, savory bouquet, the Cabernet Franc so expressive with mulberry, cloves and warm leather. Compared to the previous vintage it feels rustic, but it possesses the same degree of charm. The palate is medium-bodied with melted tannins. It feels very harmonious in the mouth, what you might describe as an "old school" Saint Emilion with a tobacco and game-inspired finish. Just a wonderful Cheval Blanc that is still drinking extremely well. Tasted February 2014.
Sep 2011 Neal Martin 94 Drink 2011 - 2025 $424-$800
Tasted at Cheval Blanc dinner at The Ledbury. This has long been one of my favourite vintages of Cheval Blanc, though recent bottles have not quite attained the ethereal heights of six or seven years ago. It has retained that complex nose with savoury fruit, fig, roasted chestnuts on a winter hearth and with time, there is a hint of iodine. The palate is medium-bodied, with raspberry, pomegranate, autumn leaves and a touch of Chinese tea. Very cohesive and impressive weight on a finish that I can only describe as ‘charismatic’. Drink now-2025. Tasted November 2010.
May 2009 Neal Martin 96 Drink N/A $424-$800
Tasted single blind at the Fine Wine Experience horizontal in London. A deep garnet core. A very well defined, herbaceous nose, with tobacco, chestnut, savoury fruit and a touch of dates. Quite complex and with very good vigour, the Cabernet Franc right in the (slightly bretty?) saddle. After thirty minutes, a lovely menthol character coming through. The palate is medium-bodied, very well balanced with fine tannins and superb acidity. Very well poised with great tension. Pure blackberry, raspberry, Chinese tea, tobacco and dried leaves. Lovely, elegant, very focused finish. Superb Cheval, multi-faceted if not as sophisticated as the ‘85. Tasted October 2008.
Jan 2000 Neal Martin 95-97 Drink N/A $424-$800
First tasted at Chez Nico with "BK Vik" in December 2001: lucid amber rim. Rich, roasted chestnuts and herbs on nose. Forward with mature expressive tannins. Very open and expressive. Less depth and structure than the 1982 but more sophisticated. Moderate acidity with a bitter cherry/leathery finish. Drink now. Certainly a lovely wine. Even better in May 2004 - a show stopping nose of herbs, chestnuts and leather. Very intense aromas which just builds in the glass. The palate is pure cabernet franc: quite meaty, savory with a touch of fig. Very harmonious and smooth. Probably approaching its peak. Irresistible wine. In December 2004: a rich, fleshy, sumptuous nose. Meaty with roasted chestnuts. Dominated by the Cabernet Franc. Very complex. Becoming more herbal with hints of espresso coffee. Very harmonious on the palate. Smooth texture. Lovely balance. Suave, quite ostentatious, fleshy and meaty. Very savory with mocha, leather and a touch of soy. Fabulous Cheval drinking perfectly now. July 2005 A deep garnet core with ruby rim. The nose is wonderful: very intense, very Cabernet Franc with roasted herbs and undergrowth. The palate is full-bodied and beautifully balanced, as warm an inviting as a log-fire on a winters night. Open-knit, slightly grainy in texture with notes of mocha, dried herbs and cooked meats. Faded a little in the glass. Probably at its peak, this is still one of my favourite Cheval Blancs of the 1980's. Tasted July 2005.