Name: Saint-Emilion AOP
Cuvée: Château Cheval Blanc
Classification: 1er Grand Cru Classé A
1x bottle 75cl
The 1996 vintage is typified by the Cabernet Franc. This Cheval Blanc offers good concentration and great aromatic complexity. It has become richer with age.
TEMPERATURES AND RAINFALL
During April and May, temperatures were slightly above average and these months were normally watered. June started with good weather, but a cooling has occurred over the last decade. Overall, June was dry. After a cool and very rainy first dekad, the weather in July recovered and was very hot and dry from the 11th of the month. Temperatures in August were close to normal values, with very high rainfall. At the end of the month a nice dry but cool weather settled down. September started with a very nice dry weather, very sunny, but relatively cool, with winds from the North and East. Maximum temperatures were pleasant and close to normal, but there was a marked cooling at night, which helped to preserve the freshness of the grapes, favoring a maturation without excess. From September 25, uncertain weather set in, with showers until October 5.
Globally this vintage is late since most of the phenological stages took place after the average observed. As soon as the bud-break takes place, the vegetative cycle is delayed, in fact it takes place on April 8 for the Merlot and Cabernet Franc, 11 days later than the average recorded for the Merlot and 6 days later for the Cabernet Franc. Flowering and veraison were also observed late compared to the usual dates. The harvest arrived close to the average dates since it began with the Merlot on September 23rd and ended on October 4th with the Cabernet Franc.
GRAPE MATURITY AND YIELD
Despite the heavy rainfall in August, the weight of the berries was not particularly high: the Cabernet Franc bunches were even more concentrated than the average. The quality of the Merlots was irregular, but very good batches were brought in on September 23rd and 24th. The Cabernet Franc grapes were harvested from September 28 to October 4: their quality was very good. The grapes were moderately rich in sugar and quite rich in phenolic compounds. They had a relatively high acidity, due to a marked presence of malic acid.
1996 offered batches of excellent Cabernet Franc, as well as some batches of high quality Merlot. Typified by the Cabernet Franc which is the majority in the blend, this vintage shows typical qualities of this grape variety. The dense robe is ruby red with a lot of brilliance and hemmed with a more tiled red, synonymous with evolution. If the first nose remains closed, it evolves with agitation into complex aromas of blackcurrant and fruit in brandy tinged with discreet woody and finely vanilla notes. The nose intensifies and becomes more complex while remaining dominated by fruit aromas. The attack on the palate is powerful and is followed by a vinous and elegant evolution. This vintage shows a lot of freshness, the mid-palate is rich and dense. The tannins are coated but tight. The aromas of fruits are prolonged for a long time until the finish which keeps the freshness. The 1996 vintage of Cheval Blanc presents a good concentration and a great aromatic complexity which has developed during ageing. Superb for several years, it has shown signs of evolution but still seems to have an interesting ageing potential.
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