Located to the northwest of the Saint-Émilion appellation, on the border with Pomerol, Château Cheval Blanc neighbours a number of high profile estates, including Château Figeac to the South and Pétrus and Vieux Château Certan across the border in Pomerol. Located in Saint-Émilion, four kilometres north of the famed limestone plateau, Cheval Blanc is much closer on the map (and therefore in diversity of soil types) to Pomerol, with a mixture of 40% gravel, 40% clay and 20% sand. Each soil type is planted with each grape varietal (Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec) with the vineyard divided into 54 separate plots. Each plot is effectively treated as an autonomous vineyard, with no blending taking place prior to vinification, creating a unique sense of identity and adding to the complexity of the finished wines. This gives a true reflection of the piece of land on which grapes have been grown since the 15th Century.
A third of Cheval Blanc’s Grand Vin is located on the boundary with Pomerol, one third has the same gravelly soil as Graves and the remaining third is a classic Saint-Émilion limestone. The resulting combination of gravel, clay, limestone and sand helps shape and define Cheval Blanc’s unique taste. The vineyards are planted with some Merlot and a tiny proportion of Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon, but the main event is Cabernet Franc. This, in Parker’s words, leads to “a distinctive lighter, more delicate style” and “aromatic, long-lived wines that represent the quintessential, complex style of Bordeaux”.