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Wine Critic
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Le Petit Cheval Saint Emilion (6 bottle OWC) FUTURE 2023 pre-arrival

France - Bordeaux - Saint-Emilion - Red
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Regular price $954.00
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Le Petit Cheval Saint Emilion (6 bottle OWC) FUTURE 2010 pre-arrival ETA summer 2026

Robert Parker - The Wine Advocate

There are only 15,000 bottles of the 2023 Le Petit Cheval, a blend of equal parts Merlot and Cabernet Franc that didn't have quite the plenitude of the grand vin. Offering up an attractive bouquet of minty berries, cherries, plums and petals, it's medium-bodied, pillowy and vibrant, with polished tannins and a bright core of fruit. I suspect that a bit of patience will be rewarded by more fat and texture.

One of Bordeaux's most complex terroirs, Cheval Blanc sits on the site of an ancient river delta, with (to generalize) clay-rich soils in the lower-lying parts where rivulets once flowed and gravel and sand elsewhere. This complexity is reflected, of course, in the resulting wine but also in how it is farmed and made, with thoughtful use of cover crops according to soil type and parcel-by-parcel vinification. A concerted effort is being made, moreover, to bring life back to the vineyard, with hedges of native species to act as wildlife corridors and fruit trees planted among the vines. The same attention to detail that's applied in the vineyards, for example with regard to developing and testing an in-house massal selection, is applied in the cellar, where cooperage trials are notable for their exigence.

The 2023 vintage has turned out superbly at this address; indeed I can't think of any young Cheval Blanc that tasted so integrated and harmonious at so early a stage. Director Pierre-Olivier Clouet described the season as unremarkable in terms of rainfall overall (though thunderstorms in June gave rise to almost tropical conditions that amplified disease pressure), observing that temperatures, while high, were not particularly extreme in the context of the last decade. Flowering was rapid and successful, as at other addresses, and in Cabernet, maturity took its time coming, making for a protracted harvest between September 6 and October 3. - Reviewed by: William Kelley