2021 Château Cheval Blanc

[En Primeur],  Red Bordeaux Blend

Saint-Emilion Grand Cru,  Saint-Emilion,  Bordeaux,  France

$1,545
JD 96
RP 97
V 98
Size:
Quantity:

Availability: 2

2021 Chateau Cheval Blanc, Saint-Emilion Grand Cru, France

The 2021 Bordeaux have turned out to be such a surprise. Weather conditions were challenging, and yet the top properties turned out gorgeous, classically built wines that will absolutely thrill readers who appreciate freshness and energy. Restrained alcohols and mid-weight structures will remind readers of Bordeaux pre-2000s. The best wines offer a striking combination of old-school classicism with modern-day precision. Quality is inconsistent though, so choosing carefully is essential. Even so, there is much to like in the 2021s.

How did this happen? Wasn’t the year a disaster, you might be asking? Well, there is a lot to talk about. To be sure, 2021 was full of challenges. These include severe frost, heavy summer rains, elevated disease pressure and then a lack of sun during the summer. It was not an easy year, to say the least. And yet the best wines are so compelling.

There is no question there is far greater precision in farming and winemaking today in Bordeaux than ever before. One of the key elements in 2021 was labor. With wages up around 50%, estates that could afford extra workers at critical moments clearly had an advantage over those that could not. Another significant development in Bordeaux is the wave of new cellars that have been outfitted with small fermentation vats. Imagine a large stock pot in your kitchen. It needs to be filled with a certain volume to work well. That is the same with the large fermentation vats. Today’s fermentation tanks need to be filled with a smaller volume of grapes than in the past. That means vineyard managers can pick only what is truly ripe as opposed to having to pick a certain amount of fruit to fill tanks, as they once did. This greater amount of selection with regards to timing in the field is having a profound impact on the quality of Bordeaux wines, especially in challenging years.

Experience is another factor. Winemakers, vineyard managers and owners had the experiences of frost in 2017 and mildew in 2018 to guide their choices in 2021. This year, I heard far more technical discussions of the different kinds of frost (black versus white), along with the different techniques to mitigate them, than ever before.

The 2021 red wines are generally marked by alcohols in the 13% range for the Left Bank and a bit more for the Right Bank, but about 1% lower across the board than what we have become accustomed to in the 2000s. The 2021s are intensely aromatic and marked generally by red fruit character. The low alcohol style, classic for Bordeaux, is sure to appeal to both consumers and professionals who appreciate vibrancy and nuance. I expect 2021 will find a great deal of enthusiasm among sommeliers. In some ways, the 2021s remind me of the 2014s in that they aren't obvious wines as this stage, but in the best wines quality is there, for those who are willing to look, just as it was with the 2014s.

JD 96

Jeb Dunnuck

(Rating 94 - 96+) The Grand Vin 2021 Château Cheval Blanc checks in as 52% Cabernet Franc, 43% Merlot, and the rest Cabernet Sauvignon, and it's a big step up over the second wine, offering serious density, depth, and richness while still holding onto the style of the vintage. Pure cassis and darker fruits, notes of scorched earth and graphite, obvious minerality, medium to full body, and gorgeous tannins all define this beauty, which is unquestionably up with the finest wines of the vintage. A wine that's never about overt power or richness, the 2021 shines on all accounts with its complexity, elegance, and incredible texture. Reviewed by Jeb Dunnuck, Issue date: February 2022.
RP 97

Robert Parker Wine Advocate

(Rating 95 - 97) A terrific achievement, the 2021 Cheval Blanc is a blend of 52% Cabernet Franc, 33% Merlot and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon. Unfurling in the glass with aromas of raspberries and cherries mingled with notions of cigar wrapper, vine smoke, rose petals and violets, it's full-bodied, layered and concentrated, with an elegantly muscular chassis of ripe, powdery tannin and lively animating acids. Long and penetrating, this is a serious, rather structured young Cheval Blanc that will require and reward patience. Reviewed by William Kelley, Issue date: April 2022.
V 98

Vinous

(Rating 96 - 98) The 2021 Cheval Blanc is one of the wines of the vintage. Vertical and aristocratic in bearing, Cheval is just stunning. Time in the glass brings out compelling inner sweetness and perfume to play off a core of rich dark fruit, gravel, spice, menthol and dried flowers. I also tasted the final three blending components, none of which hints at the magnificence of the Grand Vin. Stunning. Reviewed by Antonio Galloni, Issue date: April 2022. Drinking window: 2031 - 2061.

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SHIPPING: During warm summer weather, we recommend to only ship within the United States with Same Day or Overnight Service to protect the wines from environmental damage. If you would like to waive this protection by shipping Ground, we will request a waiver be signed.

PACKAGING: Our premium wines need optimal temperature consistency; therefore are packaged in EPS foam shippers with gel pack (when needed) and shipped only during ideal weather temperatures.

WEATHER HOLD: In adverse temperature conditions, we reserve the right to withhold shipment until ideal temperatures return unless we receive explicit instructions via email to release the wines, voiding any guarantee. We will contact you if a hold is necessary.

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JD 96

Jeb Dunnuck

(Rating 94 - 96+) The Grand Vin 2021 Château Cheval Blanc checks in as 52% Cabernet Franc, 43% Merlot, and the rest Cabernet Sauvignon, and it's a big step up over the second wine, offering serious density, depth, and richness while still holding onto the style of the vintage. Pure cassis and darker fruits, notes of scorched earth and graphite, obvious minerality, medium to full body, and gorgeous tannins all define this beauty, which is unquestionably up with the finest wines of the vintage. A wine that's never about overt power or richness, the 2021 shines on all accounts with its complexity, elegance, and incredible texture. Reviewed by Jeb Dunnuck, Issue date: February 2022.
RP 97

Robert Parker Wine Advocate

(Rating 95 - 97) A terrific achievement, the 2021 Cheval Blanc is a blend of 52% Cabernet Franc, 33% Merlot and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon. Unfurling in the glass with aromas of raspberries and cherries mingled with notions of cigar wrapper, vine smoke, rose petals and violets, it's full-bodied, layered and concentrated, with an elegantly muscular chassis of ripe, powdery tannin and lively animating acids. Long and penetrating, this is a serious, rather structured young Cheval Blanc that will require and reward patience. Reviewed by William Kelley, Issue date: April 2022.
V 98

Vinous

(Rating 96 - 98) The 2021 Cheval Blanc is one of the wines of the vintage. Vertical and aristocratic in bearing, Cheval is just stunning. Time in the glass brings out compelling inner sweetness and perfume to play off a core of rich dark fruit, gravel, spice, menthol and dried flowers. I also tasted the final three blending components, none of which hints at the magnificence of the Grand Vin. Stunning. Reviewed by Antonio Galloni, Issue date: April 2022. Drinking window: 2031 - 2061.

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