Tasting wines at the prestigious Château Cheval Blanc

An unforgettable wine-tasting experience at Chateau Cheval Blanc, a world class winery.

 

IWS Consultants are accredited as consultants & international press for the main fairs in the world; Vinexpo Bordeaux, Hong Kong, New York, Prowein Düsseldorf and many more. That’s why we have the immense pleasure of traveling around the world tasting products, developing businesses, analyzing markets, wineries and different concepts. Fairly and honestly I must say that nowhere in the world can you feel the essence of wine as in the Bordeaux region. 

 

That is why at InnoWine we would highlight synergies between classicism, prestige and innovation as we could experience in the Château Cheval Blanc.

 

 

Saint-Emilion, a charming & picturesque site

In the heart of the Bordeaux vineyard, we can find the medieval village of Saint-Emilion, named after the monk Emilion, which was established in a hermitage excavated in the rock back in the eighth century.

 

 

However, the wine history of the area goes back to the 2nd century BC, when the Romans, in their expansionist policy, planted the first vineyards. Centuries later, as in other European production areas, it was the monks who boosted commercial wine production. 

A key moment was creation and development of the port of Libourne in the 12th century, during the English occupation, led to thriving maritime trade that spread the reputation of Saint-Emilion wines throughout Europe.

The appellation surrounds the eponymous medieval town on a plateau situated east of Libourne and the terroir is the whole land of a region that gives to the product grown on it a certain singularity. Its wealth comes from the symbiosis between several  elements :

  •  A remarkable geological variety.
  • A continental temperate microclimate.
  • A relief with a gentle slops that exposes the vines to the sun.
  • The grape varieties (Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon) and the high quality achieved.

 

The vineyard landscape is impressive, highlighting its Chateaux, the quality of its wines, majesty of its architecture and a high level of professionalism in the sector.

Remenber that we are dealing with a passionate product such as wine. We have to understand the dynamics in the sector, taking into account that the Cognitive Neuroscience show us the relevance of the the affective or emotional information about a product or idea and its resultant value along a number of dimensions. That is why a great product comes from the terroir, but also of its history and its people. 

 

Château Cheval Blanc

In the case of the Château Cheval Blanc, we find a perfect fusion between tradition and innovation. The first time I had the pleasure of visiting, I was pleasantly surprised by the uniqueness of its concept with an avant-garde winery perfectly integrated into a historic Château.

 

Aerial view of Chateau Cheval Blanc and its innovative winery

 

Chateau Cheval Blanc

 

In a process of permanent innovation the architect, Atelier Christian de Portzamparc, designed the new cellar, attached to the Chateau. This impressive concept, completed in 2011, received in 2013 the International Award for Architecture of the Chicago Athenaeum in the section of “museum of architecture and design”. It is noteworthy to mention that is the World’s Foremost International Distinguished Building, Landscape Architecture, and Urbanism Awards Program. 

 

Design by Atelier Christian de Portzamparc,

 

With a total area of 5,250 m2, this modern construction seems to float in the air, glimpsing from a privileged position the millenary history of the landscape. Its structure, of enveloping type, has a garden in its roof from which we could enjoy spectacular views to the countryside of Saint Emilion.

A way to understand the wine for which I feel special admiration, so much for its facilities, the recognized quality of its product and the high professionalism that transmits its work team.

 

 

 Great food pairing & outstanding wines

When I was invited to one of the Chateau’s private events, I felt a great curiosity, as well as the epicurean sensations it transmits, I could also go further in the knowledge of this historic Chateau and its evolution over time. Would it live up to the expectations generated?. Judge by yourselves…

 

In a unique setting, we were able to enjoy an excellent menu prepared by Jean-Baptiste Depons (Chef cuisinier à Cheval Blanc).

  • Salade de Homar Breton & Gelée Petits Légumes.
  • Carré de Veau & Aubergines Confites & Poivrons Farcis.

 

The Menu

 

The perfect pair

  • Le Petit Cheval Blanc 2014
  • Château Quinault l’Enclos 2011
  • Château Cheval Blanc 2004 (formato doble magnum)
  • Châteaud’Yquem 2014

 

Whether iconoclastic or eccentric, there’s no doubt the wines overflow with intent and rigour, and for that I value them very highly. Needless to say, the four wines, within their rank and concept, have an unquestionable quality.

As it could not be otherwise, we must highligt the iconic Château Cheval Blanc 2004 (a year of average temperature and water stress common in Bordeaux). On this last point, it should be stressed, its finesse and elegance. 
Also, at the end of the tasting, Pierre-Olivier Clouet, technical director of Château, commented on some of the most relevant aspects of Château Cheval Blanc 2004.

 

Cheval Blanc 1er Grand Cru Classé 2004

 

It is a vintage that perfectly shows a classic wine and the perfect synergy between Cabernet Franc and Merlot, representing with fidelity the terroir and the essence of the Château. On the nose are black fruits and a very well integrated French oak. A very well structured wine as you would expect from a product of such prestige.

 

 

As for the Château d’Yquem 2014 was a pleasant surprise, since I am a big fan of the sweet wines of Sauternes, made from clusters affected by Botrytis Cinerea, and generally unknown to the general public. In this case we are faced with a world class sweet wine, intense and exuberant, perfectly paired with the dessert.

 

 

 

The Winery

After the wine tasting, I had the pleasure of talking with Pierre-Olivier Clouet, Château’s technical director, visiting the winery and sharing thoughts on the quality of the vineyard and how to achieve the perfect communion between history, prestige and innovation. Conversations we will leave for an article.

Barrel room

 

Finally, I would like to thank Pierre Lurton, director of Château Cheval Blanc, for his invitation to the event, as well as the attention received by all the staff of the winery, from area directors, public relations and receptionists. Thank you Pierre-Olivier, Lorenzo, Peggy… 

Abraham Muinelo (IWS Consultants) and Pierre-Olivier Clouet, technical director.

 

A brand of prestige is a long road that is built over time based on consistency, quality and strategy. And for this is fundamental a team that projects professionalism and credibility, especially in a product as emotional as wine.

 

“Age appears best in four things: old wood to burn, old wine to drink, old friends to trust and old authors to read…” Francis Bacon

Author: Abraham Muinelo

Director IWS Consultores. Ingeniero en Industrias AA.AA especializado en enología y máster en organización Industrial (Universidad de Barcelona). Amplió su formación empresarial con estudios de ADE (USC) y con el Máster universitario en Dirección de Empresas (USC). Máster en Gestión de Sistemas de Calidad (UB). Máster en PRL (U. Barcelona). Actualmente lleva a cabo el Doctorado en Ciencias Económicas y Empresariales (UCM). Formación universitaria en biotecnología, viticultura & enología, microbiología enológica, análisis sensorial y marketing del vino. Formación WSET (Londres) y Technical level Bourdeaux Wines at École du vin (Burdeos). Cursos de management en escuelas de negocio; IE, EOI, IESE, Abanca, EF y London School of Economics. Consultor internacional. Apasionado del mundo del vino, es el creador de las webs elgourmetdigital.com, elgourmet 3.0 e Innowine.es. Articulista en análisis económico, dirección estratégica y enogastronomía en diversos medios de comunicación. Cuenta con 15 años de experiencia profesional como director de calidad, responsable de desarrollo de negocio, consultor de empresas en áreas de management, marketing y dirección estratégica. Acreditado como consultor y prensa internacional para los principales salones del mundo (Vinexpo Burdeos, Hong Kong, Nueva York, Salón de Gourmets, ProWein Düsseldorf. etc). Forma parte del claustro de profesores de varias escuelas de negocio y de tres universidades.

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