1978 Cheval Blanc, St-Émilion

SKU #951166 93 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

 Bright red. The captivating nose of red berries, minerals and grilled nuts is complicated by a delicate leafiness and a spicy tobacco note. Then sweet, bright and focused in the mouth, with flavors of red berries, tobacco, cedar and underbrush. Finishes very long and spicy, with a slight tannic kick at the back, but still manages to come across as refined and suave. This Cheval Blanc has always exhibited (especially in its youth), a firmer, more austere personality than most vintage. The 1978 growing season was characterized by slightly lower-than-average temperatures in the summer and fall. It was dry right through the very late harvest, which took place between October 9 and 18. There was a late start to the growth cycle and lots of mildew in the spring. This was one of the best bottles of 1978 Cheval Blanc I have ever tried. (ID)  (10/2011)

Jancis Robinson

 This bottle was also showing beautifully (or was I just glad to get a drink after all that football?) It seemed so sweet and lush at first even if after a while the fruit started to fade a little. Wonderful jewel freshness. Reverberant on the palate. This really showed that in 1978 if the grapes were grown on a great terroir then there was enough stuffing, even if everyone had to wait so long for them to ripen. 19/20 points (JR)  (7/2010)

Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 The 1978 Château Cheval Blanc, which was served from magnum, has an endearing and you could almost describe it as "dainty," iron-scented nose with undergrowth and just a speck of Moroccan spice coming through. It is pleasant, even if I noticed how it lost some vigor over the course of 45 minutes. The palate is medium-bodied with tobacco-infused black fruit and a crisp line of acidity, though not a complex Saint Emilion. It is certainly what you might describe as "old school" Claret, because it is unashamedly austere and foursquare, yet you will still find yourself finishing the glass and pouring another. Not a Cheval for the hedonists for sure, but it deserves respect all the same. (NM)  (7/2016)

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Varietal:

Cabernet Sauvignon and Blends

- Cabernet Sauvignon has come a long way from its role as a blending varietal, however dominant, in the wines of Bordeaux. Today it is the most planted red varietal in the world. Identified as a descendent of Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc, the late-ripening Cabernet Sauvignon needs to be planted in warmer climates to fully ripen. Its small berries can easily be identified for their distinctive blue color, thick skins and high tannins. And while the varietal has its own definitive characteristics: green pepper-like aromas and black currant flavors among them, it is perhaps most prized for its ability to convey terroir, vintage and winemaking. A relatively new varietal, Cabernet Sauvignon started making inroads into the wines of the M├ędoc and Graves in the late-18th century. Today it is also dominant in the up-and-coming Entre-Deux-Mers region of Bordeaux and can also be found in Southwest France. It is the companion varietal to Sangiovese in Italy's Super Tuscans and is planted all over Europe, stretching to lesser-known winegrowing regions like Russia and Lebanon. In the Americas Cabernet Sauvignon has found champions in every nook and cranny of California and among winemakers in Washington, where it complements plantings of Merlot. In South America, Cab thrives in Chile, but can also be found in smaller amounts in Argentina and even in Mexico.
Country:

France

- When it comes to wine, France stands alone. No other country can beat it in terms of quality and diversity. And while many of its Region, Bordeaux, Burgundy and Champagne most obviously, produce wine as rare, as sought-after and nearly as expensive as gold, there are just as many obscurities and values to be had from little known appellations throughout the country. To learn everything there is to know about French wine would take a lifetime. To understand and appreciate French wine, one only has to begin tasting them. Click for a list of bestselling items from all of France.
Sub-Region:

Bordeaux

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Specific Appellation:

Saint Emilion