Cheval Blanc 1961 (1.5L)
Critic Scores, Reviews & Descriptions
20/20 JR / 98 VM / 96 WS /
A truly magnificent magnum. Very sweet, rich and glorious (a word I see I wrote twice). Long, subtle and hugely enjoyable. Racy, mineral with strong graphite notes. Round and so friendly. - Jancis Robinson
(12% alcohol): Ruby-red with a garnet rim. Enticing nose offers minty blackcurrant, rose petal, cedar, and red cherry liqueur aromas. Then rich, suave and dense in the mouth, with voluptuous red cherry, raspberry, mineral and cocoa flavors complicated by tobacco and flinty nuances. The finish is smoothly tannic and extremely long, with a strong mineral nuance and just a hint of phenolic dryness. An extremely refined Cheval Blanc, exhibiting impeccable balance and breed; very cabernet franc-dominated and hence very Cheval Blanc. The year was memorable for a bout of frost on May 29 that sharply reduced crop levels; the summer started hot, then turned cool, but temperatures warmed up again during a magnificent September. The harvest took place from September 18 to 27. Only 160 barriques were made from a freakishly low yield. I have encountered bottle variation with the 1961 Cheval Blanc, which I've tasted 11 times through the years, but this particular bottle was pretty unforgettable.
We had two bottles of this vintage. One, recently recorked in California, was rich but clumsy, with an odd earthy/tart contrast; Serena Sutcliffe, who was leading the tasting, suspected adulteration. The other bottle was fantastic, a beautiful expression of this rich, ripe vintage, velvety with plum, prune and meaty flavors, balanced and long. - Wine Spectator