1990 Cheval Blanc, St-Emilion
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
One of my favorite Cheval Blancs, it remains to be seen if the 1998, 2000, and 2008 will live up to this offering. It is the ripest wine of the aforementioned vintages, with a complex bouquet of tobacco leaf, Christmas fruitcake, sweet black fruits, bordering on fig and plum, but no hint of overripeness, and notions of new saddle leather, mint, and incense. The gorgeously expressive aromatics are followed by a full-bodied wine revealing abundant glycerin as well as elevated alcohol, but it is not hot, and nothing is out of place. Expansive, rich, and revealing the nuances and complexity that come from bottle age, it is at its peak of maturity where it should remain for another 10-15 years. 98+ (RP)
Bright red. Very complex, deep nose of blackcurrant, red cherry, coffee, tar, tobacco leaf and flowers. Then smooth, rich and dense, with a creamy texture and lively acidity nicely extending the flavors of dark berries, plum, mocha, soy sauce, leather and Oriental spices. A ripely tannic wine with a rich, exotic mouth feel, this comes across as a more opulent style of Cheval Blanc. Finishes extremely long and complex, with a smoky chocolatey nuance and a sweet coconut note. This outstanding and complex wine will have you going back to the glass again and again. A warm and dry year, the 1990 vintage was slightly hotter than 1989 (some cuvées of Merlot clocked in at over 14% alcohol), with 11 days over 35°C between July and August. From July to September there was 27% more sunlight than average and it was very dry throughout. It was also a very precocious year, with flowering occurring around May 25, veraison (the color change of the berries) on August 12, and harvest between September 11 and 25. (Incidentally, the chateau does not have records of the final blends of their vintages prior to the early 1990s.) (ID)
This is really wonderful and a big surprise for the tasting with wonderful flowers, dark berries and hints of currants on the nose. It’s full and very silky with a wonderful precision and finesse. Goes on and on. Wow. What a finish. This is a buy call. So outstanding. Just a baby but a joy to drink.
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
Deep healthy red-ruby. Knockout nose combines nearly candied cherry and raspberry fruit, grilled nuts, coffee, tobacco, game, earth and mint. Great silky sweetness in the mouth, thanks to fabulously pure, ripe Cabernet Franc. Finishes with extraordinary sweetness and great persistence, with the ripe tannins currently buried under a wave of fruit. A fabulous vintage for this chateau. Drink now through 2025. (ST)
Dark ruby red. Superripe aromas of raisins, dried plums and intense truffle. Full-bodied, chewy and layered, with lovely ripe fruit. Such beauty. Serious Cheval.
Pale ruby. Not the richest nor most seductive bottle of this usually very seductive wine. It was the first red of an array of six vintages of Cheval served blind at this dinner that I nosed and immediately thought 'Cabernet Franc!' After the 1928 it seemed a little bit young and unformed initially but in the glass it really came out and got sweeter and richer. It did look mature but had some freshness on the finish. Makes me want to taste another bottle! (18/20 points)
98 points Neal Martin's Wine Journal: "After entering what seemed like a slight dip, the 1990 Cheval Bland is rapidly assuming the mantle of that era's greatest wine from the hands of the 1982. Here it's just on fire, racing out of the blocks with its hedonistic bouquet of macerated dark cherries, sloes, game and iodine all beautifully defined and indeed, reminding me of the 1982 around the later nineties. The palate is velvet smooth, the acidity cutting through the swathe of lush black and red fruit, the merlot more expressive at this precise moment. Showy and yet refined, there is a completeness to this wine that is irresistible. Tasted February 2014."