The 1985 Cheval Blanc is a beautiful bottle of young wine that still needs several years of cellaring to fully reach its apogee and start to show all of its multi-layered complexity. The bouquet is deep and clearly destined for profundity, but still a tad primary in its mélange of dark berries, menthol, tobacco leaf, gravelly soil tones, smoke and a touch of new wood. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied and still quite tight, with a great core of pure fruit, impeccable focus and balance, ripe tannins and great length and grip on the superbly elegant finish. This is an utterly refined vintage of Cheval Blanc that may in the long run outpace the more highly touted Chevals from the 1982 and 1983 vintages. A great wine in the making. 95+
The 1985 Cheval Blanc has always been one of the most seductive of releases from the estate during that decade. Here it has that unmistakable highly perfumed bouquet with red berry fruit meddling with sandalwood, leather, briary and dried rose petals. It gains intensity in the glass, blossoms as the minutes go by. Perhaps here the fruit is more pure than the 1983 Cheval Blanc, more vivid. The palate is medium-bodied and perfectly balanced, underpinned by expressive Cabernet Franc that drives this along. I detect that it has lost a little of its flesh and corpulence on the finish, perhaps the first signs that it has just passed its peak? It remains a glorious, sensual Cheval Blanc, nonetheless - a consummate performer. Tasted March 2015. (NM)
The 1985 Cheval Blanc has always been one of the picks of the vintage for what was a fecund decade for the Saint-Émilion. This example shows similarly to previous bottles. It has a fragrant bouquet with sandalwood, clove and chestnut, maybe here even a touch of brettanomyces? It is only slight. The palate is beautifully balanced with melted tannin. The Cabernet Franc in full flight – hints of bell pepper and cedar, a surfeit of fruit. Maybe it lacks the precision of more recent vintages but how can you resist its charm. Impossible! It is a wonderful wine, but I wonder...was its heyday around the turn of the millennium? Tasted blind at Chez Brunce lunch. (NM)
Very bright red. Ripe red cherry, plums macerated in alcohol and a floral element on the delicate nose. Then rich, ripe and dense in the mouth, with strongly saline, persistent flavors of dark berries, spice cake, leather and cocoa. There's lovely sweetness to this wine, but also a slightly funky hint of earthiness at the back that falls just short of gamey. Finishes fleshy and long, with slightly drying tannins. Still, this is a lovely medium-bodied, softer style of Cheval Blanc that is a joy to drink. Though there was less water stress on the Right Bank than on the Left in 1985, Pierre Lurton told me that the hints of game (which he felt were there) and earthiness suggest a dry year. The year actually featured a cool and humid spring, followed by a rainy but warm July, then a dry, warm August. The harvest was late (October 1-17), allowing the estate to take advantage of the ideal September weather conditions. (ID)
Beginning to show maturity. Spice and cedar aromas give way to a silky texture and flavors of tobacco and roasted fruits. (TM)
Served blind at the end of a run of Pomerols and quite at home in this sequence but denser, more savoury, a little gamey and still so alive! Great concentration. 19/20
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