Cheval Blanc is considered the greatest wine of Saint-Émillion, and shares a worldwide reputation comparable to any Bordeaux First Growth (and therefore any wine on earth). Being Right Bank-situated, no wines from the region were included in the original 1855 classification of Bordeaux, but Saint-Émillion devised its own ranking system 100 years later - one that is considered incredibly robust and up-to-date, due to its regular re-appraisal.
Cheval Blanc has been ranked as a Premier Grand Cru Classe (A) - the highest possible - since the inception of the classification.
The property borders Pomerol on one side, often drawing commentators into describing Cheval Blanc as combining the best of the two: having the richness and opulence of Pomerol tempered by Saint-Émillion’s unique elegance and poise.
The wine is generally led by Cabernet Franc, followed by the signature Merlot of Saint-Émillion.
"55% Merlot, 45% Cabernet Franc. 34 days of picking, 3 September - 6 October! Historic long vintage. No Petit Cheval, so 90% of the crop went into this wine. Very sweet almost balsam nose. Very distinctive! Really fine with lovely tannins. Lots of ripe fruit and masses of tannin as well as ripeness. The alcohol is only just moderate enough. Very dramatic without being at all exaggerated. Some red pepper powder notes. 14.35%. Drink 2027-2050."
18,5/20 points, Jancis Robinson MW.
"The 2015 Cheval Blanc represents the entire vineyard this year since there is no Le Petit Cheval (two plots that did not meet requirements were not included in any blend). A blend of 45% Cabernet Franc/Cabernet Sauvignon and 55% Merlot, matured in 100% new oak, it has a very complex bouquet, subtle and tightly wound, very precise with dark berry fruit, hints of graphite, minerals and a hint of black pepper, perhaps a little spicier than recent vintages. The palate is medium-bodied with extraordinarily fine tannin. Beautifully balanced, perfectly controlled, this Cheval Blanc gently builds in the mouth but remains strict and precise. The Cabernet Franc here is very expressive (though apparently, the Merlot was showier prior to malolactic). This is an intellectual Cheval Blanc, thoroughly enjoyable, but it will need 10-12 years to really show its pedigree. A profound wine in the making, it will rank with the great wines of the past."
97-99 points, Neal Martin, eRobertParker.com
"The nose pops with spice, flowers, smoke, plums and cherries. Open your mind to beauty, desire and a bite-your-bottom-lip eroticism. This is what elegant hedonism is all about. This wine is sensuous beyond belief, fresh and vibrant. The fruits feel like French velour on your palate. The wine is incredibly rich, yet light on its feet, which is almost impossible to achieve. Trust me, I drank every last drop of this barrel sample. When the coast was clear, I poured a little more into my glass and drank that too! From a blend of 55% Merlot and 45% Cabernet Franc, the wine reached 14.35% alcohol with a pH of 3.6. According to Pierre Lurton, there was no Petit Cheval produced in 2015, because the quality of the harvest was so good, making a second wine, did not improve the Grand Vin, regardless of the blend. The harvest took place from September 3 to October 10."
98-100 points, Jeff Leve, The Wine Cellar Insider
"A wine of total finesse, the 2015 Cheval Blanc speaks to understatement above all else. Sweet floral notes meld into a core of bright red stone fruits and mint. Silky, nuanced and wonderfully persistent on the palate, the 2015 possesses remarkable depth, but in an understated fashion. There is plenty of tannins buried beneath the fruit. The 2015 is not an obvious Cheval Blanc, but rather a sublime wine that will only start to blossom with a decade plus in bottle. It will drink well for decades beyond that."
95-97 points, Antonio Galloni, Vinous.
"My Right Bank wine of the vintage and close to perfection. 55% Merlot and 45% Cabernet Franc, representing 90.5% of this year’s production (no Petit Cheval this year). Exudes elegance, class and precision. Dense, fresh, perfumed nose and the most velvety of textures. Remarkable quality of tannin allows a gentle attack then prodigious length and persistence. Nothing out of place. 2025-2050."
98 points, Steven Spurrier, Decanter.com
"As many readers may know, 2015 was the first year since 1988 that Cheval Blanc did not produce its second wine, Petit Cheval. This said, parts of two of the Cheval Blanc blocks were not used at all—Plot 17A and the north part of Plot 10—which had problems with water availability during the dry spell, and the fruit was sold for bulk. Therefore, this vintage of the Grand Vin equates to roughly 90% of the total production, making it one of the most complete expressions of Cheval Blanc ever produced. Composed of 53% Merlot and 47% Cabernet Franc, the deep garnet-purple colored 2015 Cheval Blanc slowly opens up to reveal plum preserves, black forest cake, blackberry pie and pronounced licorice notes with suggestions of cloves, cinnamon stick, star anise, dried Provence herbs and lavender plus wafts of iron ore and dusty soil. Medium to full-bodied, rich and densely packed with incredible layers of black, red and blue fruits, it completely fills the palate with energy and expression, framed by very ripe, wonderfully velvety tannins and a racy line of acid, finishing with incredible length and poise. At once achingly graceful and captivatingly cerebral, this is a legendary vintage for this great estate. 2024-2058" 100 Points, Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW (Wine Advocate)
Made with 45% Cabernet Franc, this great wine offers a beautiful, rich and perfumed character. This is an exceptional vintage for this estate which incorporated into the blend fruit from parcels of the vineyard that would normally go into the second wine. It is packed with black-fruit flavors and broad tannins, with a background of juicy acidity and a firm structure. Drink from 2027.
100 points, Wine Enthusiast, December 2018
Phenomenal aromas of cherries, flowers, blackberries and sandalwood. Pure fruit. Full-bodied, dense and polished with incredible tannin quality like the finest, densest silk ball. In perfect proportions. Compact. Seamless and endless. Gorgeous to taste now but give it six or seven years to understand it better.
99 points, JamesSuckling.com (February 2018)
I continue to absolutely love the 2015 Chateau Cheval Blanc. It’s one of those powerful, sexy, yet also weightless and elegant wines that’s going to drink well all its life. Checking in as a blend of 55% Merlot and 45% Cabernet Franc brought up in new barrels, it offers a kaleidoscope of aromas and flavors led by beautiful sweet fruits as well as incredible floral, spice, and graphite nuances. It’s full-bodied, with a rich, rounded, opulent texture, sweet tannins, and a blockbuster finish. As with a lot of 2015s, it has the sweetness of fruit and ripe tannin that allows it to drink well today, but it’s going to be very long-lived and have 3-4 decades of prime drinking.
98 points, JebDunnuck.com (June 2019)
A lovely sanguine hint leads off, followed by racy, elegant juniper, tobacco, red currant and damson plum notes that move in unison. Broadens and deepens, adding notes of currant preserves, warm ganache and smoldering tobacco, with a swath of loamy structure. Yet even as the bass line increases in volume through the finish, this maintains purity and poise. Should deliver some stunning aromatics at peak, which will take awhile to achieve.
98 points, Wine Spectator (March 2018)
St.-Émilion is the star of Bordeaux’s Right Bank, north of the Dordogne River. The rich red wines produced in St.-Émilion, based on Merlot and Cabernet Franc, are less tannic and generally more fruit-driven in flavour than the Cabernet-based wines of Left Bank. Merlot thrives on the plateaus high above the Dordogne, where the soil is filled with sand and clay, a perfect medium for creating opulent, fruit-forward wines. With a typically savoury character, St.-Émilion wines are sometimes called the “Burgundies of Bordeaux.” These refined reds, with loads of finesse, are elegant companions to beef, chicken, pork and duck.
The wines of St.-Émilion were not included in the famous 1855 classification of Bordeaux, which ranked wines of the Left Bank. In 1955, St.-Émilion published its own classification, based on soil analysis, wine quality and reputation of the properties. Unlike the 1855 classification, St.-Emilion’s system requires properties to continuously prove themselves. The list is revised regularly, most recently in 2012. There are two tiers within the classification, Premier Grand Cru Classé and Grand Cru Classé. There are currently just 18 Premier Grand Cru properties and 64 Grand Cru Classé properties.
The St.-Émilion appellation is home to hundreds of individual producers, enhancing the variety of wines made there. Many of the properties remain small, family-run enterprises, unlike the large châteaux of the Left Bank. The area is also the base of France’s controversial micro-châteaux or garagiste wine movement; these innovative winemakers operate outside the traditional classification system, making very high quality (and very expensive) highly extracted wines.