2018 le petit cheval, saint-emilion grand cru
Why We're Buying
Le Petit Cheval may be a second wine, but it's no slouch. The Bordeaux red blend contains roughly 70% cabernet franc and 30% merlot, yielding a complex and succulent body. The combination of black cherry, caramel, and tobacco notes ages well for up to 20 years.
Beautiful aromas of bark, dried mushroom, berry and tile follow through to a full body with richness of fruit, creamy and ripe tannins and a flavorful finish. Needs two or three years to come around. Try after 2024.
The second wine of Chateau Cheval Blanc, this is rich and structured in its own right. It offers powerful tannins as well as ripe, smoky fruitiness. Blackberry flavors vie with structured richness, always keeping a center of freshness. The wine will age well and should not be drunk before 2026.
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
A blend of 70% Merlot and 30% Cabernet Franc, the medium to deep garnet-purple colored 2018 Le Petit Cheval rocks up with open-knit notes of crushed black raspberries, plum preserves and mulberries, plus hints of wild mushrooms, pencil lead, mossy tree bark and cloves. The medium to full-bodied palate is plush, juicy and pretty much ready for business, featuring plenty of earth and black fruit layers, finishing long with a spicy kick. Ten percent of the total production this year went into this second label of Cheval Blanc. I'd give it just another year or two in bottle to fan its tail out a little more and then drink it over the next 15-18 years.
This is sappy and bright, very light on its feet; an excellent second wine that is hard to argue with. A yield of 44hl/ha. The production split for this vintage was 74% Cheval Blanc, 10% Petit Cheval and 16% sold in bulk (including all of their press). Drinking Window 2025 - 2040.
The 2018 La Petit Cheval comes from designated parcels and is 70% Merlot and 30% Cabernet Franc brought up in a mix of new and used barrels. It shares similarities to its big brother with its complex, layered bouquet of red and black currants, ripe cherries, camphor, leafy tobacco, cedar wood, and flowers. Beautifully textured, medium-bodied, and as elegant as they come on the palate, this gorgeous Saint-Emilion can be drunk any time over the coming 15-20 years. It's one of the top second wines in the vintage.
The 2018 Le Petit Cheval has a pretty bouquet that demands some coaxing from the glass (indeed, I left the bottle a couple of hours to fully open). Blackberry and bilberry fruit, tobacco and light autumn leaf aromas gently unfold but never slip into fifth gear. The palate is medium-bodied with a leafy, slightly herbaceous entry that I personally like, though others seeking more fruit intensity might find it a little lean. But it is fresh and harmonious, and very classic in style, with residues of tobacco and bell pepper on the aftertaste. Drinking window: 2025 - 2040