Château Cheval Blanc is a property in the Saint-Émilion region of Bordeaux, classified with the top ranking of Premier Grand Cru Classé A. It is regarded by many as the greatest wine of the appellation, and is certainly the most famous Cabernet Franc-based wine in the world. Typically the grand vin is lush and full bodied with great weight of fruit. It tends to require 10 years of bottle age and the best vintages can last half a century or more. The second wine is Le Petit Cheval.
The vineyard is located in the northwest of the region, bordering Pomerol – La Conseillante is a neighbor – and consists of 39 hectares (96 acres) divided into 45 plots. There is an unusually large amount of Cabernet Franc planted, about 49 percent, with 47 percent Merlot and 4 percent Cabernet Sauvignon. The unusual planting proportions reflect the terroir; most vineyards in the region are either clay or gravel-based over impermeable sedimentary rock, but Cheval Blanc is unique in having a patchwork of soils with the two types in roughly equal proportions. The clay soils provide base wines with velvety tannins, while those from gravel soils are more aromatic and elegant.
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A Bordeaux Blend, at its most basic, is any combination of those grape varieties typically used to make the red wines of Bordeaux. The phrase, which seems to have originated with British wine merchants in the 19th Century, relates as much to wines made from the blend as to the grape variety combination itself . Far from being an officially defined or legal term, it is almost never used for wine-labeling purposes (although it occasionally appears on back labels). Its equivalent in the United States is Meritage, which is not only legally defined, but also a registered trademark.
Red Bordeaux Blends are known for their powerful structure and deep flavors. Dark fruits and berries such as plum and blackcurrant are commonly used to describe the flavors of red Bordeaux, although there is an unlimited range of terms that have been ascribed to them. Tannins tend to be relatively high in these wines, giving them a firm structure.