Last week marked the news that Robert Parker would be relinquishing Bordeaux en primeur, beginning with the 2014 vintage, handing the reins over to Neal Martin. To read more about this, click here. Parker indicated that this would not be the end of this career, as he would still be re-tasting the 2012s from bottle, as well as giving his eagerly anticipated review of the magnificent 2005 vintage, one that he considers as ‘one of the most singular years of the past five decades’. The 2005 vintage is the most exciting review since the 2000; growing conditions were pronounced perfect by the wine world, touted as one of the greatest vintages ever, drawing comparisons with 1945, 1947, 1949, 1959, 1982, and 1990 – heady stuff!
Cheval Blanc is one of the two original Grands Crus Classes A of St Emilion and one of the greatest wines of the right bank. In 1998 it was purchased by the Chairman of Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy and owner of Chateau d’Yquem, Bernard Arnault and a Belgian businessman, Albert Frère. Pierre Lurton was appointed as estate manager and under his considerable talent the estate has continued to flourish. We have identified Cheval Blanc 2005 as one of the most exciting investments of the vintage; a wine that is extremely likely to obtain a considerably higher re-score, perhaps up to 100 points from its current 96 (RP). Here are the points to consider:
In the finest vintages of the last 15 years (2000, 2009 & 2010) Parker has scored Cheval Blanc 99 points twice as well as giving the 2010 vintage 100 points. He is a great lover of both this Chateau and the 2005 vintage.
Neal Martin taking over Bordeaux means he will have increasing influence, his scores will become the benchmark for Bordeaux. As such, it is extremely compelling to note that Neal Martin’s score for Cheval Blanc 2005, 98+, exceeds his scores for the 2000, 2009 & 2010.
Parker participated in a vertical tasting of Mouton Rothschild in January, which led him to upgrade Mouton Rothschild 2005 from 96 to 99+ points; since then the price has risen over 20%. Parker has also recently tasted Montrose 2005, marking it up from 95 to 96 points and Haut Bailly up from 95 to 98 points. We feel this is indicative of the vintage coming into its own and opening up, a vintage so powerful it has required 10 years to soften slightly and is therefore now ready to achieve the high end of its initial scores.
Cheval Blanc 2005 released ex London en primeur at £4,300 per case of 12 bottles back in 2006. It subsequently rose to above £8,000 a case in late 2007, then traded at £5,000-£5,500 from 2008 to 2011, since which time it has traded steadily at £4,400. Today’s price means that collectors and speculators can now buy the wine with 10 years ageing, two to three years before it enters its drinking window at the same price as its release.
Finally, if we consider the price comparison of the other leading vintages of Cheval Blanc, it is clear that the 2005 will be set to see an instant price rise should its score increase.
We consider the risk vs reward compelling: if Parker reiterates Martin’s 98+ we would expect the price to move up to £2,800 or above per case of six; 100 points may likely result in a 60% increase to above £3,000. If Parker remains at 96 points, Cheval Blanc 2005 will likely continue at the current price. However, when Parker re-scored Cheval Blanc 1998 to 96 points from 93 points, he said, ‘I seriously underestimated this wine, as I have often tended to do with Cheval Blanc.’
There is also little question that 2005 is a remarkable vintage; the leading wines have the ageing potential of the 1928s,1945s and 1947s, this alone makes them truly special. To read our full 2005 report click here.
It is a truly compelling investment and the 2005 is one of the greatest Cheval Blancs in history, a future legend; perhaps one day we will speak of it as Parker currently does the 100 point 1947, ‘the 1947 Cheval Blanc is considered the crown jewel in any millionaire collector’s cellar.’
Cheval Blanc 2005 – 6×75 – £2,200 IB or £2,654.76 incl duty and VAT
Wine Advocate Robert Parker, 96-100 Points (April 2007)
This spectacular blend of nearly equal parts Cabernet Franc and Merlot has put on weight over the last year (as most top Chevals tend to do). The color is an inky/blue/ruby/purple, and the wine reveals an extraordinary aromatic profile of subtle mocha, licorice, pain grille, and abundant red, blue, and black fruits. As usual, there is an underlying hint of menthol, or is it forest floor? A classic, quintessential medium-bodied Cheval Blanc boasting a stunning texture and high tannin, but neither aggressiveness nor angularity, the 2005 appears capable of rivaling the extraordinary 2000 and 1998. However, the production of 95,000 bottles is relatively small. It requires 6-8 years of bottle age, and it should evolve effortlessly for 35+ years. Drink: 2013 – 2042
Wine Advocate Neal Martin, 98+ Points (Feb 2015)
The Château Cheval Blanc 2005 has an intense bouquet, one that is more complex than Ausone with a slight marine influence infusing the blackberry and raspberry fruit, hints of wilted violet and cassis surfacing with time an joining the chorus line.. The palate is beautifully balanced with filigree tannin. It feels linear at first and then fans out marvellously with a bravura finish that lacquers the mouth. There is clearly quite brilliant precision here, impressive length and poise with a touch of salinity on the finish. What a spellbinding Cheval Blanc, a Saint Emilion that is just going to get better and better with each passing year. Drink: 2020 – 2060
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