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.
|Score: 100||Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW, Wine Advocate (Interim Fe), February 2018|
The 2015 Cheval Blanc has an intense bouquet of red and black fruit but lacks the precision and detail of some of its peers at present. It gradually unfurls to reveal light graphite/pencil box aromas, along with a touch of sous-bois indicative of a healthy percentage of Cabernet Franc. The fresh, vibrant palate is medium-bodied with fine tannin, crisp acidity and a slightly closed, reticent finish, suggesting that it is saving more for later. Classic in style, more so than its peers, but worth cellaring for certain. Tasted blind at the Southwold 2015 Bordeaux tasting.
|Score: 96+||Neal Martin, vinous.com, July 2019|
The 2015 Cheval Blanc is a blend of 54% Merlot and 46% Cabernet Franc. Pierre-Olivier described it as a vintage where he had all the musicians he wanted in the orchestra, i.e. all the parcels performed at their optimal capacity. It has a very intense bouquet: macerated small red cherries, redcurrant jus, pencil shavings and a touch of loamy soil/undergrowth. There is a sense of introspection about these aromas, as if they are only going to show at their full strength with requisite bottle age (and there is nothing wrong with that). The palate is medium-bodied with the same filigree tannin that I remarked upon from barrel. This is a tensile, poised and balletic Cheval Blanc, so much so that you barely notice its power. As I commented during en primeur, this is an intellectual Cheval Blanc rather than a showy, ostentatious one, a vintage whereby cellaring is going to be essential. But it is a quite brilliant wine. Anticipated maturity: 2025 - 2060.
|Score: 98||Neal Martin, -, March 2018|
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. Drink 2025-2065
|Score: 97/99||Neal Martin, Wine Advocate (224), April 2016|
Medium to deep garnet-purple colored, the 2015 Cheval Blanc is still incredibly primary at this very youthful stage. With coaxing, it unfurls to reveal beguiling notions of ripe black cherries, mulberries, licorice, baking spices and smoked meats with touches of incense and potpourri plus wafts of cast iron pan and crushed rocks. Full-bodied, very rich, very firm/taut and with very ripe, fine-grained tannins, it allows a glimpse at its incredible depth of flavors with a very long multi-layered finish. Wow. Drink Date 2027 - 2067
|Score: 100||Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW, Wine Advocate (238), August 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.
|Score: 99||James Suckling, JamesSuckling.com, February 2018|
A Cheval with a depth and finesse that reminds me of the 1998. Full body, ultra-fine tannins and amazing length and beauty. Such finesse and harmony. Super silky and classic for Cheval Blanc.
|Score: 96/97||James Suckling, JamesSuckling.com, March 2016|
Totally seamless in the glass, with no beginning and no end, the 2015 Cheval Blanc is simply extraordinary. It's hard to describe the 2015, because all of its elements are so perfectly in place. Beautifully delineated aromatics make a strong opening statement. Vibrant and wonderfully nuanced on the palate, the wine exudes energy and vitality through to the persistent, silky finish. Many other 2015s speak with more assertiveness and volume, but Cheval Blanc is more understsated. In 2015, Cheval Blanc created quite a stir in announcing that a whopping 91% of their crop would be bottled as Grand Vin. There will be no Petit Cheval, while the rest of the wine was sold internally. 2025 - 2055
|Score: 99||Antonio Galloni, vinous.com, February 2018|
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 tannin 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.
|Score: 95/97||Antonio Galloni, vinous.com, April 2016|
Tasted blind. Neat, low key on the nose. Opulent, round and fleshy palate, then neat, dry finish. Pretty smart. 14.3%
|Score: 18.5||Jancis Robinson MW, JancisRobinson.com, February 2019|
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%
|Score: 18.5+||Jancis Robinson MW, JancisRobinson.com, April 2016|
Cheval Blanc is one of the great names of Bordeaux and the most famous Chateau in Saint Emilion. The 37 hectares of vines border Pomerol but the wine is different from Pomerol thanks to the high percentage of Cabernet Franc in the vineyard (52% Cabernet Franc and 48% Merlot). A stunning new winery has recently been completed. There is no doubt that this is a great vineyard with an excellent wine-making team. Quality in 2015 was so uniformly high, and yields so low (29 hl/ha) that they decided not to make any Petit Cheval (the second label). Consequently there will be 130,000 bottles produced. The final blend is 55% Merlot, 45% Cabernet Franc. Vivid ruby in colour, with a milk chocolate, caramel, blackcurrant and violet nose. The initially silky palate reveals huge underlying intensity and complexity, with understated opulence of black cherry, clove, chocolate, vanilla and graphite. Incredibly complex and superbly textured with ultra-refined tannins. The intensity continues to build all the way through to the finish, with superb precision and focus. The flavours linger long after the wine has gone in what is already a harmonious, elegant and seductive wine.
|Score: 18.5||Farr Vintners, March 2016|
One of the wines of this stellar vintage is undeniably the 2015 Cheval Blanc from Pierre Lurton, and it’s going to be interesting to compare this beauty up against the 2005, 2009 and 2010 over the coming three to four decades. Made from a mix of 55% Merlot and 45% Cabernet Franc brought up in new barrels, it’s a wine compared to the 1998 by Lurton, which is a perfect wine today. The 2015s deep purple color is followed by a sensational perfume of violets, spring flowers, Asian spices, and graphite and the wine has an incredible core of raspberry and currant fruit. With full-bodied richness, thrilling purity of fruit, ultra-fine tannin, and a beautiful finish, hide bottle for 5-6 years, count yourself lucky, and enjoy over the following three decades or more. It’s also worth noting that this is the first vintage since 1988 where this estate has opted to not produce their second wine, the Petit Cheval. 2023 - 2063
|Score: 98||Jeb Dunnuck, JebDunnuck.com, November 2017|
The nose has floral balsamic aromas the palate a mix of black fruits bramble freshness backed by sweeter cassis. Depth in the middle the rich fruit is underpinned by dark chocolate velvety smooth opulent. It is lighter at the back seamless with a hint of spice and vanilla on the finish.
|Score: 95/98||Derek Smedley MW, DerekSmedleyMW.co.uk, April 2016|
For the first time since 1988, there was no second wine (Petit Cheval) at Cheval Blanc, such was the team’s confidence in the quality of nearly all of the 45 parcels. It sounds like hubris, but this is very special indeed. Complex, scented and nuanced, with a cool elegance that was difficult to achieve in 2015. The tannins are silky, caressing the palate, while the finish lingers like the last note of a great string quartet. Drink: 2025-40
|Score: 98||Tim Atkin MW, timatkin.com, April 2016|
No Petit Cheval was made this year because as they assembled the Grand Vin, putting plot after plot into the mix, only three plots didn’t make the cut, so this is an extraordinary wine in this respect alone. There was incredible homogeneity this year and, with low yields, of 29 hl/ha, this is a concentrated and dense Cheval Blanc and it is more closed and introspective than usual. There is a lovely, fresh, menthol character, probably coming from Cabernet Franc, which breaks up the depth of black fruit and helps to lengthen the palate. Rich and noble, this is a confident and dense wine with a touch of austerity and it will be a long lived wine.
|Score: 18.5+||Matthew Jukes, Matthew Jukes' Blog, April 2016|