Chateau Cheval Blanc Saint Emilion Grand Cru [Pre-arrival] 2018
WA97-100: Thirty-three plots contributed to this wine, out of the 43 in production. Five went into Petit Cheval and five into bulk. The 2018 Cheval Blanc is a blend of 54% Merlot, 40% Cabernet Franc and 6% Cabernet Sauvignon, with a 3.75 pH and 14.5% alcohol. Deep purple-black in color, the nose is more open at the core of the wine than the Le Petit Cheval, strutting out of the glass with bold, ripe black cherries, cassis, warm plums and raspberry preserves notes. With coaxing, a whole array of fragrant spice, floral and earth notes emerge, followed by candied violets, star anise, powdered cinnamon, iron ore, tapenade and truffles plus wafts of camphor and mocha. Medium to full-bodied, the palate is firm yet possesses a beautifully plush structure of velvety tannins wrapping round the densely packed, complex, fragrant fruit, with seamless freshness and a very long, layered finish.
VM97-100: The 2018 Cheval Blanc is dazzling. Creamy, supple and inviting, the 2018 is endowed with phenomenal balance. The tannins and overall structure are imposing, and yet the richness of the fruit and perfect ripeness of the tannin really stand out. In 2018, Cheval is a bit richer than is often the case, but that is not at all a bad thing. I am struck by how much freshness and energy the 2018 has. Hints of lavender, spice and licorice add shades of nuance, but it is the wine's overall sense of harmony that leaves the strongest impression. A precise counterpoint of fruit richness and finesse makes for a truly unforgettable Cheval Blanc.
JS98-99: What strikes you is how aromatic this already is at this stage. Complex and decadent, showing lots of dark berries, smoked meat, wet earth, and dried leaves. Decadent. Full-bodied with very ripe and polished, velvety tannins. Great finish.