1998 Cheval Blanc, St-Emilion
This structured and powerful red is finally coming out its sleep. It shows intense aromas of dried fruits, mushrooms, forest floor and berries. It's full-bodied, very dense and velvety, and has an outstanding, ripe and richly fruity finish. A wine that harkens back to the legendary 1947 Cheval-Blanc. Drink or hold.
Aromas of blueberry, sweet tobacco, leather and pipe tobacco turning to raisins and Christmas cake. What a wine. Full-bodied, with chewy tannins and a very well-integrated palate. Dark color. A big and powerful wine still. Blockbuster. Massive. Just a baby. (Web Only—2009) (JS)
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
I seriously underestimated this wine, as I have often tended to do with Cheval Blanc. A potentially immortal example that has gained significant weight since it has been bottled, this blend of 55% Cabernet Franc and 45% Merlot has a saturated purple color and a glorious nose of menthol, plums, mulberries, new saddle leather, cocoa, and vanilla. Remarkably fuller-bodied than I ever remembered it young, with an amazingly seamless texture and tremendous concentration and extract, this full-bodied yet gorgeously pure and elegant wine is impeccably balanced and certainly one of the all-time great Cheval Blancs. If it continues to improve as much as it has over the last three years since bottling, this wine will certainly rival the 2000, 1990, and 1982. Anticipated maturity: 2009-2030. (RP)
(a blend of 56% merlot and 44% cabernet franc; 13% alcohol; 32 h/h): Bright ruby. Ripe, intensely pure black cherry, blackcurrant, floral and milk chocolate aromas. Enters silky and suave, with rich red cherry and blackcurrant flavors that give the middle palate a fruit cocktail quality. Almost more Pomerol than Saint-Emilion here, with a rich, fleshy mouth feel and highly polished tannins. Finishes very long and suave, with a pretty smoky, floral note. I also had the opportunity to taste the pure bottlings of the 1998 Cheval's merlot and cabernet franc, and the cabernet franc was absolutely mesmerizing; the best of these lots went into the Cheval Blanc, and the wine is noticeably better than the Petit Cheval of the same year. That said, given the truly amazing quality of the cabernet franc this vintage, I am utterly convinced that having included more of it in Cheval Blanc's final blend would have turned this into one of the estate's five or six best wines ever. The 1998 vintage recorded temperatures close to the yearly averages throughout the growth cycle, and though not particularly hot, it was one of the drier years on record; the harvest took place from September 28 through October 6. (ID)
Pierre Lurton prefers ‘98 to ‘00. He thinks 1998 is the single greatest Cheval Blanc of the second half of the 20th century. Much more intense and ripe than the 2001 on the nose. Slightly tarry and powdery. Smudgy and complex. Neat and sweet on the finish. Loganberries. Very flattering. Much denser and more youthful than the ‘01. Truly flamboyant. 19/20 Points.