Timing was the key to a successful vintage for Cheval Blanc, according to Pierre Olivier Clouet from the estate, who said waiting to harvest the Cabernet Franc and picking the Merlot al dente was the recipe for success in 2011.
2011 Cheval Blanc is a 52 per cent Cabernet Franc and 48 per cent Merlot blend, with Jeff Leve describing it as a fresh, refined, elegant style of Cheval Blanc that offers soft, ripe, pure, fresh black and white cherries, floral, spice, truffle, smoke and earthy aromas along with supple textures.
Mr Leve recently talked to Pierre Olivier Clouet from the estate, who reported in The Wine Cellar that the success of the 2011 vintage was based on harvesting the Cabernet Franc at the right time and picking the Merlot when it is al dente.
Picking the Merlot al dente is an intentional move by Cheval Blanc, which is an estate that looks to avoid the flavours associated with overly ripe Merlot grapes. Timing was crucial this time around as weather conditions were anything but favourable in Bordeaux. That is why the Cabernet Franc was harvested later, after the Merlot, allowing the fruit to obtain better development due to the warm days and cool nights. "This allowed the aromatics to obtain fruit and floral characteristics,” Mr Clouet explained.
Cheval Blanc is grown on a diverse terrain which requires significant contribution from the wine growers in order for the grapes to reach their ripest levels. Owing to a dry summer, grapes in the sandy terroir did not ripen well, and were therefore used in the final blend. However, grapes on the clay soils of Cheval Blanc obtained good ripeness, highlighting the qualities of clay soil for performing in all vintages.
The wine estate has recently undergone some extensive improvements, with new cellars installed for this vintage. According to Mr Clouet, these made for "perfect production" of the wine. He said: "We were truly able to harvest on a parcel-by-parcel basis. With all the different-sized vats, we could control the vinification on a parcel-by-parcel basis."
Thank you for your enquiry, do you wish to proceed