2009 Cheval Blanc
Robert Parker | 100 RP
Decanter | 100 DEC
The 2009 Château Cheval Blanc continues to just blow me away every time I’m lucky enough to taste a bottle. It has that rare mix of elegance and power that can be hard to describe. Offering a massive bouquet of black cherry liqueur, flowery incense, crème de cassis, toasted spices, and forest floor, it hits the palate with full-bodied richness, a magical, seamless texture, and a great, great finish. Its tannins and structure are just now starting to emerge from under ample baby fat, but it still has incredible opulence and richness as well as flawless balance. Enjoy this masterpiece any time over the coming 20-30 years.
Jeb Dunnuck | 100 JD
Deep garnet colored, the 2009 Cheval Blanc offers up profound notions of baked blueberries, blackberry compote and crème de cassis with suggestions of chocolate mint, new leather and cloves plus a waft of candied violets. Medium to full-bodied, the palate is an exercise in elegance with very classy, super fine-grained tannins, beautiful freshness and layer upon layer of mineral-laced blue and black fruits, finishing long and perfumed.
Robert Parker Wine Advocate | 100 RP
Super-spicy, this is an extremely elegant 2009 with enormous concentration and finesse. The complex finish lights up the sky and you wonder how this spectacular ripeness could have been more perfectly expressed. Drink or hold. (Horizontal Tasting, London, 2019).
James Suckling | 99 JS
The 2009 Cheval Blanc has a rambunctious nose with copious red fruit, meat juices, sage and crushed stone aromas, ineffably complex. This is so refined, constantly mutating in the glass. The palate is medium-bodied with fine, saturated tannin. There is a mixture of red and black fruit, hints of cassis, cardamom and allspice. Immense depth and grip towards the finish expresses ripe Cabernet Franc. This is an outstanding 2009 destined for long-term ageing. Tasted blind at Farr Vintners’ 2009 Bordeaux tasting.
Vinous Media | 98 VM
Dense, brooding and richly coated, with a well of steeped black currant, fig paste and roasted plum fruit to draw on while the layers of charcoal, Kenya AA coffee and loam resolve themselves. This displays both breadth and depth, offering a great undercurrent of acidity to match its heft. Should be among the most long-lived wines of the vintage. Best from 2017 through 2035. Tasted twice, with consistent notes. 7,330 cases made.
Wine Spectator | 98 WS
An impressive wine, a true return to form for Cheval Blanc. The fruit is enormous, packed with sweet black berry juice, and with a brilliant freshness. There is a lovely smoky character, topped by ripe figs.
Wine Enthusiast | 97 WE
(Château Cheval Blanc) The 2009 Cheval Blanc really is stunning. The wine is probably the most serious contender to Lafite-Rothschild’s crown as the ultimate luxury cuvée amongst the red wines in Bordeaux this year, as it is clearly cut from the same cloth. The bouquet is deep, pure and very sophisticated, as it offers up scents of dark berries, cassis, coffee bean, sappy black cherries, menthol, tobacco leaf, smoky soil tones and a generous dollop of smoky, luxurious new oak. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied and seamless, with beautiful focus and mid-palate depth, fine-grained tannins, superb focus and a very, very long, suave and complex finish. Like Lafite, Cheval Blanc wears its luxurious gloss very well in 2009, and it will clearly make a lot of friends amongst the jet set and should make some serious inroads into the Chinese high end luxury market, which seemed to be the obsession of every non-Lafite executive at the top estates on this trip. The wine will really need at least fifteen years to fully blossom, but is so finely crafted that it will provide plenty of pleasure early on and is likely to fall prey to infanticide in many circles. But as brilliant as the Cheval Blanc undoubtedly is this year, I would rather have the old-fashioned beauty of 2009 Bélair-Monange in my own personal cellar. (Drink between 2025-2075)
John Gilman | 95-96+ JG
Wine Details for 2009 Cheval Blanc
|Type of Wine
: Picture in your mind a combination of cedar, lead pencil, blackcurrant, plum and mineral aromatics, and texture that caresses your palate like a playful lover. The experience is thrilling from the first whiff to the final seconds of a tannic, generous finish - that is what you'll get from a Bordeaux Red
Red Bordeaux Blend
: The inhabitants of the Bordeaux region of France have been cultivating wine-grapes for thousands of years. Ancient Roman ruins litter the vineyards from Saint Emilion to Graves where the art of blending Bordeaux varietals has been practiced and perfected over a very long history. Bordeaux’s climate, terroir and soils, though varied, provide the optimal growing conditions for the red grape varietals planted in the region.
Rarely listed on the labels as “blend,” the red wines of Bordeaux are perhaps the most artfully designed and celebrated in the world. The calculated art of blending the native Bordeaux varietals is impressively accomplished in the most famous winegrowing region in the world. The phrase Bordeaux Blend which seems to have been coined by British wine merchants in the 19th Century relates as much to wines made from the blend as to the grape variety combination itself.
Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Malbec and occasionally Carmenere are the lead characters in the creation of Red Bordeaux Blends. Each plays a part in their own fashion and implemented in various combinations and percentages in each appellation within Bordeaux. Red Bordeaux Blends are majorly composed of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, roughly making up 90% of all Bordeaux Blends. Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Malbec (occasionally Carmenere) are also important components and vital to the production of the region’s red wines.
For simplicity, the winegrowing region of Bordeaux can be divided into three main appellations producing Red Bordeaux Blends; the Left Bank (Medoc), Right Bank and Pessac-Leognan (Graves). The Left Bank has a terroir comprised of a wide variety of gravel, stones, sand, limestone and clay soils on a natural terrain of gentle slopes. This sets the stage perfectly for the production of Cabernet Sauvignon, which is the dominant grape of the Left Bank. For example, Chateau Lafite (Paulliac) is composed of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon.
The Right Bank is dominated by clay and limestone with sand and gravel, but the clay in the Right Bank is distinctly its own and adds to the health, growth and vitality of the vines of the varietals grown here. Right Bank wines are typically 80% Merlot-based, which are often denser, richer and mature earlier than those of the Left Bank (with exceptions – Petrus for example). Merlot is a vital component to Pomerol winegrowing and making. Cabernet Franc also plays a major role in the Right Bank, most notably, in Saint Emilion, where the infamous vineyards of Chateau Ausone and Chateau Cheval Blanc are planted to 55% and 52% Cabernet Franc, respectively. Chateaux that produce wines with a majority of Cabernet Franc are considered “old school” producers, but have perfected the use of Cabernet Franc, which was originally used as a blending grape.
Pessac-Leognan (Graves) enjoys a temperate climate, natural hygrometry influenced by the ocean, and has a terroir composed of gravelly soil over a clay subsoil on sloping, hilly terrain. Natural drainage due to the hilly terrain as well as the gravelly soil structure are perfectly attuned to the Cabernet Sauvignon grape vine, which prospers under these conditions. Pessac reaps the benefits of having the terroir of both the Left and Right Bank as it contains gravel and clay. The clay sub-soil allows the growth and success of Merlot, as well as Cabernet Franc. It is home to the only First Growth not in the Medoc. The 50-hectare vineyard of Haut Brion is planted to 45.4% Merlot, 43.9% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9.7% Cabernet Franc and 1% Petit Verdot.
The percentage of Petit Verdot and Malbec may be lesser in quantity, but not in quality. They are vital to the region’s creation of Red Bordeaux Blends. The combination of Bordeaux varietals is legendary in the region, around the world and has influenced winegrowers worldwide to plant and vinify wines which resemble those of Red Bordeaux Blends.
: Wine is the lifeblood that courses through the country of France, pulsing with vigorous pride and determination. Viticulture is not just a hobby or an occupation in France; it is a passion, a cherished tradition that has been passed down through generations of wine stained hands. Winemaking is a beloved art that has been ingrained in the culture, an aptitude instilled in sons by fathers and the hallmark for which France’s reputation was built, allowing it to be renowned as, arguably, the most important wine producing country in the world.
For centuries, France has been producing wines of superior quality and in much greater quantity than any other country in the world. It boasts some of the most impressive wine regions, coveted vineyards and prestigious wines on earth. The regions of Bordeaux, Burgundy, Rhone, Sauternes and Champagne have become the benchmark, for which others aspire to become. Legendary producers such as Chateaux Margaux, Domaine De La Romanee Conti, Chapoutier, d’Yquem and Dom Perignon are idolized world-wide.
France has stamped its name on nearly every style of wine, from the nectar-like sweet Sauternes to hedonistic Chateauneuf Du Papes classic Bordeaux and Burgundy, to its sparkling dominance in Champagne. Many of the most infamous grape varietals in the world, such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay originated in France and are not only beloved, but utilized in the creation of some of the greatest wines on earth. French wine production commands the attention of the wine market year after year. With over 860,000 hectares under vine, and numbers close to 50 million hectoliters of wine produced annually, France dominates the market and sets the standard for not only product quality, but also quantity.
France’s many contributions to the world of wine have been absolutely indispensable. The country is the originator of the term “Premier Cru,” coined the term Terroir (a French term so complex there is no literal translation) and has laid the blueprint for a structured appellation system, which others have implemented in their own countries. French vineyard techniques and winemaking practices are mimicked world-wide. California vintners have been replicating Rhone style wines for decades, South America has adopted the French varietal of Malbec and countries around the world are imitating Burgundian styled Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.
With vast diversity in terroir, France is home to some of the most hospitable winegrowing locations on earth. The combination of topography, geology, climate, rainfall and even the amount of sunlight combined with the long historical tradition of winegrowing and making, has allowed the vintners of France to not only hone their skills, but learn from nature to create a product that like the world in which it resides… is very much alive.
|Chateau Cheval Blanc