Red Bordeaux - 2005 - Cheval Blanc

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Tasting Notes

The dense ruby/purple-hued 2005 Cheval Blanc’s ethereal bouquet of menthol, coffee, wet stones, black cherries, blackberries, and hints of graphite and spice soars from the glass. An equal part blend of Cabernet Franc and Merlot, it is medium to full-bodied with a gorgeous texture in addition to high tannins that glide over the palate with no angularity or astringency. While it does not quite reach the perfection of the 2000, it should rival the profound 1998 and 1990. This is not a Cheval Blanc for near-term drinking as it demands at least a decade’s worth of cellaring. Anticipated maturity: 2017-2035

Score: 96 Robert Parker, Wine Advocate (176), April 2008

This spectacular blend of nearly equal parts Cabernet Franc and Merlot has put on weight over the last year (as most top Chevals tend to do). The color is an inky/blue/ruby/purple, and the wine reveals an extraordinary aromatic profile of subtle mocha, licorice, pain grille, and abundant red, blue, and black fruits. As usual, there is an underlying hint of menthol, or is it forest floor? A classic, quintessential medium-bodied Cheval Blanc boasting a stunning texture and high tannin, but neither aggressiveness nor angularity, the 2005 appears capable of rivaling the extraordinary 2000 and 1998. However, the production of 95,000 bottles is relatively small. It requires 6-8 years of bottle age, and it should evolve effortlessly for 35+ years.

Score: 96/100 Robert Parker, Wine Advocate (170), April 2007

A prodigious Cheval Blanc that should challenge the 2000 and 1998 as the finest Cheval since the 1990, the 2005's final blend consisted of 55% Cabernet Franc and 45% Merlot. The Merlot harvest began on September 15th and lasted until the Cabernet Franc was finished around October 6th. Administrator Pierre Lurton told me, "I prefer to pick the Merlot a little early, and the Cabernet Franc a little late." The deep ruby/purple-colored 2005 reveals an extraordinary projected, surreal bouquet of menthol, red, blue, and black fruits, and hints of mocha, licorice, and sweet oak. This opulent, tremendously concentrated Cheval Blanc possesses undeniable finesse, elegance, and freshness as well as a vibrant, nuanced, delineated personality. Anticipated maturity: 2014-2030+. The estate’s second wine, the 2005 Le Petit Cheval (55% Merlot and 45% Cabernet Franc) is one of the better efforts over recent years.

Score: 95/98 Robert Parker, Wine Advocate (164), April 2006

The 2005 is ferociously closed on the nose - broody and backward, opening slowly with wild strawberry, crushed stone, bay leaf and Chinese tea. The palate is medium-bodied with firm, gently grippy tannins, citric peel and a masculine, assertive finish. This is a long-term Cheval Blanc but it does not have the sheer audacity or bravura of the 2009. Tasted December 2012.

Score: 95+ Neal Martin,, May 2013

Score: 97 James Suckling,, February 2008

I am not sure what to say about the nose. It's so complex, with minerals, berries, wet earth and light vanilla. Turns to licorice and mint. Full-bodied, with amazing tannins and a long, long finish. This is so refined and long. Pure silk

Score: 95/100 James Suckling,, March 2006

Good deep ruby-red. Knockout nose offers terrific vinosity to the aromas of dark raspberry, mocha, minerals, licorice, menthol and dark chocolate. Lush, fat and suave, with superb energy and lift to the fine-grained, palate-staining flavors. Despite its rather high 14% alcohol, this boasts near-perfect balance and finishes with outstanding verve. A great vintage for Cheval, and likely to improve in bottle for at least two or three decades.

Score: 96+ Stephen Tanzer, International Wine Cellar

Some development on the rim. Fresh nose and then very rich and sweet on the front palate.A little angular on the finish but lots of concentrated fruit. Real life to this - some Cabernet Franc? Just a little light on the finish. £7,500 a case currently

Score: 18.5 Jancis Robinson MW,, February 2009

Very dark and lustrous. Much more obviously Cabernet Franc than the Petit Cheval - quite rigorous and yet still ripe though with some really aromatic leafiness - in the appetising rather than underripe spectrum. Even a hint of black pepper. Extremely broad and ripe and sumptuous. Full, sweet yet with lovely lift and lustrousness - it does seem less earthbound than some recent vintages. Certainly very, very ripe. The finest tannins - like the threads in a silk shawl. A lovely skein of flavours. So very, very neat and confident. Great freshness! Very reminiscent of older classic Cheval vintages - 1983 with a bit more flesh? Drink 2015-35

Score: 19+ Jancis Robinson MW,, April 2006

A lovely Cheval-Blanc, with ultra-elegant red fruits and violet aromas, silky texture, refined tannins. Will probably equal and even surpass the 1998, with the same cabernet Franc freshness and nobility. Compared to Ausone there is a small lack of vinosity. Drink from 2017.

Score: 19 Michel Bettane, Decanter Magazine, April 2006

Please note that these tasting notes/scores are not intended to be exhaustive and in some cases they may not be the most recently published figures. However, we always do our best to add latest scores and reviews when these come to our attention. We advise customers who wish to purchase wines based simply on critical reviews to carry out further research into the latest reports.