The reference chateau of the vintage, this wine is showing its class here and then some. It was the first year with Bernard Arnault and Albert Frère as owners, with Pierre Lurton coming onboard from his former role at Clos Fourtet. 10% press wine was used, whereas today they use no press wine in the grand vin. It was aged in 100% new oak. The 36ha of vines yielded 32hl/ha, closer to their average than the relatively abundant 1989). The holdings have since expanded to 39ha with the addition of 3ha from Tour du Pin Figeac. 67% of production went in to the grand vin, the rest into Petit Cheval. This is seductive and rich but with a purity and precision. There's more Merlot in the blend than is typical because the clay soils produced the best quality grapes, and you can see its impact in the textural density - the proximity to Pomerol comes through. (JA)
Another perfect wine is the 1998 Cheval Blanc, which is the usual blend of 55/45 Merlot and Cabernet Franc. Possessing an utterly captivating bouquet of sweet red and black fruits, forest floor, spice and dried flowers, it packs plenty of muscle and depth on the palate, yet is also expansive, elegant and seamless, with no hard edges. Just singing, with everything you could want; complexity, richness, elegance, depth, and length, drink this sensational beauty anytime over the coming two decades. I’m sure it will keep longer, but why in the world would you wait.
The 1998 Cheval Blanc, a blend of 65% Merlot and 35% Cabernet Franc, is deep garnet-brick in color and absolutely explodes with scents of exotic spices, incense, dried roses, cigar box and licorice, with a core of crème de cassis and dried cherries plus touches of black tea and dusty earth. Medium to full-bodied, it fills the mouth with rich, plushly textured fruit and then POW—it hits the mid-palate with an explosion of Chinese five spice and floral perfume sparks, leading to an epically long finish. This cannot fail to impress and can easily cellar for another 30 years or more. (LPB)
Aromas of blueberry, sweet tobacco, leather and pipe tobacco turning to raisins and Christmas cake. What a wine. Full-bodied, with chewy tannins and a very well-integrated palate. Dark color. A big and powerful wine still. Blockbuster. Massive. Just a baby. (JS, Web Only—2009)
Aromas of rose petal and hints of fresh herbs such currant leaf. Tobacco, too. Medium body, very fine tannins and a balanced fruit. Extremely refined and polished. A beautiful harmony. So lovely now.
Full, bright medium ruby. Nose shows an almost liqueur-like ripeness, along with notes of bitter chocolate and menthol; a great expression of ripe but youthfully unevolved cabernet franc. Extremely dense and pure but still quite tight and showing a minty austerity. Wonderful acids give the wine superb clarity of flavor. This will require another decade to unfold. Finishes impressively persistent and juicy. Drink 2010 through 2030. (ST) 95+
The 1998 Cheval Blanc has been a lauded wine ever since release. I have often, quite controversially felt that it never quite matched its startling performances in its first ten years, though it remains and excellent wine. Now at 20-years old it offers opulent, high-toned scents of maraschino cherry, iodine, crème de cassis, dried blood and a subtle, almost Provençal herb-like scent courtesy of the Cabernet Franc. The palate is medium-bodied with fine grip, showy compared to other vintages of Cheval Blanc with sappy red fruit and a fine structured that lends this 1998 focus. Perhaps this bottle did not quite deliver the intensity on the finish that I was expecting, "jogging" instead of "sprinting" over the finish line. That said, it is a very impressive wine, even if personally I would not put it amongst the very best wines that Pierre Lurton has overseen. Tasted at Cheval Blanc. (NM)
No tasting note provided.
Very sweet and powerful - especially for this property - but with exceptionally well-polished tannins. Great density. 18/20 points (JR)
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