Read Decanter's profile on Bordeaux's Château Cheval Blanc, a St-Emilion estate where vines have been grown for centuries...
Château Cheval Blanc at a glance
Owner Bernard Arnault (LVMH) and Baron Albert Frère
Area St-Emilion, Bordeaux, France. 39ha
Varieties 49% Cabernet Franc, 47% Merlot, and 4% Cabernet Sauvignon
Average age of vines At least as far back as the 15th century.
Soils Gravelly-sand, sandy-clay & sandy-clay/iron deposits
Average production 8,000 cases
Château Cheval Blanc profile
Cheval Blanc, which translates to English as ‘white horse’, is one of the most prestigious estates in Bordeaux. It lies at the far western edge of the St-Emilion appellation, on the prized, gravelly soils that run into Pomerol.
It is one of only four châteaux at the St-Emilion Premier Grand Cru Classé ‘A’ level in the local appellation system. The others are Ausone, Pavie and Angélus.
The château was once part of the Figeac estate, but was sold off during the 1830s to the Ducasse family, who passed it to their son-in-law, Jean Laussac-Fourcaud, in 1852.
Laussac-Fourcaud expanded, drained and renovated the vineyard. He also added the château building, and he soon saw the reputation of the wine soar.
Athough Right Bank Bordeaux estates were not included in the famous 1855 Classification ordered by Napoleon III, Cheval Blanc won medals at exhibitions in both Paris and London in the mid-19th century.
In 1998, after more than 100 years of family ownership, Cheval Blanc was purchased in tandem by Belgian businessman Albert Frère and Bernard Arnault, of luxury goods brand LVMH.
Arnault also owns Château d’Yquem in Sauternes and was in 2015 proclaimed the richest man in France with a personal fortune of more than €34bn.