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EP23 Release: Cheval Blanc “One of the most profound wines of the vintage is the 2023 Cheval Blanc” William Kelley

Bordeaux Index

13 May 2024

As usual, Cheval Blanc is one of the early releases in the campaign and the 2023 release is no exception. This year the wine is comprised of 46 of the 56 parcels of vines at the estate, and the Grand Vin represents 75% of the production of the estate. It is a year where the Cabernet Franc flourished, due to the warm weather in late September, and counts for 46% of the blend this year, with 52% Merlot and 2% Cabernet Sauvignon.

“One of the most profound wines of the vintage is the 2023 Cheval Blanc” William Kelley

An estate committed to sustainable and regenerative viticulture, the vineyards themselves are a thing of beauty. There are three pillars of what the estate calls ‘anti-conventional’ viticulture: agroforestry, vegetation cover, and polyculture. Through these tools the estate is working to nurture a fully sustainable and accountable form of agriculture.

Around two thirds of the production is set to be released en primeur with the remainder of stock only released when the wine has reached its perfect drinking window as part of the new commercial strategy of the estate. The estate is investing in a new storage facility to age their stock, so the en primeur offering still represents the best chance to get access to the wine until a much later future release.

“Seamless and effortless, this year's Cheval Blanc is so harmonious at this early stage” Robert Mathias MW

Add Cheval Blanc 2023 to my cellar

98-100pts William Kelley, The Wine Advocate “One of the most profound wines of the vintage is the 2023 Cheval Blanc, a striking wine that stands out for its strong sense of identity and seamless integration at such an early stage in its life. Wafting from the glass with notes of mulberries, lilac, dark fruits, iris root and violets, it's medium to full-bodied, supple and seamless, with a gourmand core of cool, vibrant fruit that entirely conceals its sweet structuring tannins, concluding with a long, perfumed finish. It's a blend of 52% Merlot, 46% Cabernet Franc and 2% Cabernet Sauvignon, drawing on fully 46 of the blocks that make up Cheval Blanc, and it attained 13.8% alcohol.”

97-99 Robert Mathias MW, Bordeaux Index “Seamless and effortless, this year's Cheval Blanc is so harmonious at this early stage. It opens with aromas of black tea, earth, a hint of pepper, and sandalwood. Extremely poised the wine floats and envelops the palate with cassis fruit. There is extremely fine aromatic precision of violets and iris. Texturally the wine really caresses the palate and then builds and straightens. Mineral and floral in equal measure - it's precise, with a calm restraint but a quiet yet intense power too.”

97-99 Lisa Perrotti-Brown, The Wine Independent “The 2023 Cheval Blanc, accounting for 75% of this year's crop, is deep garnet-purple in color. After a little swirling, the nose erupts with an atomic perfume of Morello cherries, wild blueberries, black raspberries, and ripe plums leading to a fragrant undercurrent of rosebud tea, menthol, star anise, and cinnamon stick. The medium-bodied palate is fantastically fresh and graceful, delivering super-fine-grained tannins and just enough tension to support the red, black, and blue fruit layers, finishing on a lingering mineral note. This is magnificent. The blend is 52% Merlot, 46% Cabernet Franc, and 2% Cabernet Sauvignon, with pH 3.80.”

98-99pts James Suckling, “This is so cabernet, with blackcurrants, blackberries, crushed stone, graphite and lead pencil. Full-bodied with tight, chewy tannins that remain fine yet energetic. Winemaker Pierre-Olivier Clouet says this wine is a benchmark for Cheval Blanc. Reminds me of the great 1983. 13.8% alcohol. 52% merlot, 46% cabernet franc and 2% cabernet sauvignon.”

98pts Jane Anson, Inside Bordeaux “Contrasts intensity and depth with nuance and softly spoken character. Lift and tension, precisely placed cocoa bean, liquorice root, tomato leaf, tannins, violet and peony florals and slate, sinewy, slow-tug tannins, powerful with lift off. Has plenty to say and demands that you slow down to hear it. 40hl/h yield, 75% of overall production (no press wine as ever), harvest September 6 to October 3. Pierre-Olivier Clouet director.”

96-98 Neal Martin, Vinous “The 2023 Cheval Blanc is uncharacteristically backward on first meeting, and it takes time to really fire up its engines. Quite strict and focused (surprisingly so), the bouquet reveals black fruit, a touch of bilberry, with just a whiff of iris flower. The palate has wonderful symmetry, outstanding mineralité and ample tension. It's extremely pure, with less weight than the 2022 but perhaps a touch more nerve. Modestly grippy on the finish, this "serious" Cheval Blanc will deserve several years in bottle. It's cerebral…and I like that. The 2023 is very different from the 2022—a beautiful minor chord.”