I was born on Friday, April 13 1951 in Mascara, in Algeria (then a French colony). I haven’t gone back since the independence. I am waiting for a peaceful time to go back to this country where only a few memories remain. In any case, this Friday, I didn’t have much time to reminisce as I had a full day of work and in the evening a reception organized by one of my négociant colleague from Bordeaux for 2 representatives of this beautiful store in New York Sherry Lehman. I was honored to be invited along with 3 representatives of Bordeaux classified growths.
I was able to taste once more the Petit Cheval and especially Cheval Blanc 2006, which I find particularly well made this year.
Not being a master in the divine art of words, I still remember this comment from Michel Rolland, on my wine, tasted young, en primeur (1992); I quote (by memory): “why do you want what tastes good today should be bad tomorrow and how can you believe that a wine that you find bad today will be good tomorrow? These arguments come from another era.” The conversation certainly lead to this point of view: this was regarding my 1992 vintage, which, I would like to recall, was a mediocre vintage where Valandraud stood out.
All of that to say that, in my humble opinion, Cheval Blanc 2006, which I find so good today, has no reason not to please me in 10 to 20 years. The strength of this cru is its softness, this silkiness rarely found in other wines. This type of terroir (as for La Dominique, which I now manage) doesn’t make rustic wines, it is here almost impossible!
I must say that the advantage of Saint Emilion and Bordeaux is to offer a wide palette of wines which, as opposed to idiots and imbeciles who are still claiming otherwise and despite “oenologists and globalization”, offer so many different wines, and where everyone can find something. And it is not because I like Cheval Blanc that I cannot like La Conseillante, Pavie or even a “petit” Cheval.
In any case, it seems that since 2004, Cheval Blanc, while preserving its elegance, gained in depth, and it is not me (amateur of great powerful and elegant wines) who will regret the instant pleasure of tasting young wines. The 2006 reminds me the pleasure I had in 1991 to regularly go and taste the 1990 Cheval Blanc which was a pure delight in the barrels… and which is still (I think I drank more than a barrel).
Sunday morning, I leave for Osaka and Tokyo, back Thursday morning.