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(65% M, 30% CF, 5% CS; 74% harvest; 37hl/ha; 14.2% ABV; 100% new) A lovely, gently black-fruit-cored nose, deep, mineral, and oh so subtle; rich, ample, concentrated, tannic, and vital wine, a splendid long-term constitution; dense but not hard in any way, deep and sweet and packed with fruit, very long in the mouth, a wine of great complexity and scope, so complete and so persistent. Its tannins and acidity make for an upright, aristocratic, imposing presence, where you sense a wine with a structure of a different order from most on the Right Bank, one that is also effortlessly polished. I can think of no Cheval quite like this in the recent past. Magnificent wine. And only just over 14% ABV! Ideally wait 15 to 20 years before broaching? 2035–60+.
65% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Franc, 5% Cabernet Sauvignon. 71% of production. Cask sample. Deep colour. Flattering and floral on the nose but slightly hard-edged on the palate. There’s a fleshy quality to the fruit and freshness as well but the luxurious nature of Cheval seems missing this year. Tight and firm at present, even a little pinched, the tannins overwhelm the fruit at present. Drink 2028 – 2040 (James Lawther)
Spice, anis, rosemary, blackcurrant leaf, redcurrants, mint, peonies, the full array of aromatics are on display here, and there is an enveloping aspect to the fruit once you get to the body of the wine. The tannins are compact and powerful but they are wrapped in plump raspberry and blackberry brambled fruits. The wine feels full of life, with acidity that pulls the palate forward from the first moment, before austerity kicks in on the finish and closes things in, suggesting an extremely long life ahead. Hard to argue with this. Could go up after tasting in bottle, a potential 100 points. (Jane Anson)