The 1939 Cheval Blanc is far better than I expected, not least because the bottle had lain in a single cellar virtually its entire life. It is surprisingly deep in color. The nose has retained a sense of vigor, offering black fruit, mint, touches of chimney soot and cracked black pepper – rustic but pleasant. The palate is medium-bodied and a little fleshier than anticipated, displaying an agreeable bitter edge with cedar and sage toward what feels like a more Cabernet-driven, tertiary finish. While it is short and nowhere near as complex as the postwar legends, it is perfectly drinkable and enjoyable.