Cheval Blanc is the most recent of the top ranked Bordeaux Crus and was part of the estates of Château Figeac until President Ducasse purchased the land in the 1830s. Much of the acquired land needed draining and this work was carried out under Ducasse’s son-in-law, Laussac-Fourcaud who assumed control of the estate in 1853. Interestingly, this was the first year the wine was sold under the name Cheval Blanc, previously Château Figeac was used. Cheval Blanc remained in the same family until 1998 when it was purchased by the Chairman of Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy and owner of Chateau d’Yquem, Bernard Arnault and a Belgian businessman, Albert Frère. Pierre Lurton was appointed as estate manager and under his considerable talent the estate has continued to flourish.
Château Cheval Blanc is situated in Saint-Emilion and together with Ausone was rated the only Premier Grand Cru Classé (A) in the 1955 Saint-Émilion classification. The estate is situated near Pétrus and even encroaches into the Pomerol commune, coupled with its Graves- like gravely soil, Cheval Blanc is unique in that it displays characteristics of Pomerol, Graves and its native Saint-Emilion. Cheval Blanc is blended using a preponderance of Cabernet Franc over Merlot and this leads to a distinct freshness with high concentrations of fruit and a rich enveloping bouquet.
Allegedly, Jacques Hebrard, the manager of the Château in the 1980s was once so outraged at the score the critic, Robert Parker gave the 1981 vintage that he insisted Parker return for another tasting. Parker agreed and was promptly attacked by Hebrard’s dog. Hebrard sat back and watched and when Parker asked for something to stop the bleeding, Hebrard handed him a piece of paper containing his unfavourable review. Parker, however, concurred the wine had improved since he last tasted it and amended his review in a later edition of his publication.
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