1er Grand Cru Classé (A), St-Emillion
Not the 2005 concentration, but 2006 is powerful and rich.
A vintage marked by contrasting weather conditions. From April to September, temperatures were 2C above seasonal norms. In August, temperatures fell and in September, after an eight-day heat-wave with temperatures exceeding 30C, the rain started. The weather conditions of the 2006 vintage were very good for vine development and ripening of the grapes. Great care during harvesting was necessary due to the challengeable weather conditions. Budburst occured in the first week of April. The mid-flowering to mid-veraison interval was normal, at 60 days. Between mid-veraison at the end of July and the harvest, the interval was 46 days, which is alos normal in Bordeaux. Harvesting started on 15th September and went on non-stop through to 28th September. The inconsistent weather in 2006 produced grapes of great quality but also very fragile grapes due to the successive periods of heat and rain, making constant sorting in the vines and the winery a necessity.
By early September, the ripeness of the grapes was exceptional. The average potential alcohol content of the Merlot was over 14° with a good acidity level. Although some dilution phenomena were noted due to the rain, the excellent soils, plot selection and human skill got the better of the ups and downs of the weather.
2006 was a highly technical vintage in Bordeaux and the results were uneven. Strict sorting of a rather small harvest due to severe thinning (28 hl/ha) made sure that Cheval Blanc kept all the exceptional potential of the vintage. The quality was identical for the Merlot and Cabernet Franc grapes, and the synergy between the two in the blend is perfectly evident.