It’s the perfect imperfect wine – 1947 Cheval Blanc. I am sure most of you have heard about this legendary red. It’s ageless. It’s also priceless. And it’s also probably the most counterfeited wine of them all.
Yet I had a perfect bottle of the wine about a week ago in Los Angeles, during a vertical tasting of the great St. Emilion estate. Check out my previous blog. And look at the video with this. I also did a vertical of Chateau d’Yquem, the famous Sauternes. The tastings were organized by collector Bipin Desai and Pierre Lurton, head of both estates who attended the tastings in Southern California.
Each time I taste the 1947 Cheval (assuming the bottle is real) I am amazed by its richness, complexity and depth of fruit and flavor. Here is my non-blind score and tasting note from the LA event:
1947 Cheval-Blanc: Dark ruby garnet. Dense color. Incredible nose of ultraripe fruit with masses of prune and coffee. Turns to crushed raspberries with a sugar undertone. Like raspberry tart. Full-bodied, extremely powerful and dense. Port-like. Incredible. It is so rich and decadent. Such sweet, ripe fruit. Turns to coffee and spice with fruit tea. Not sure what to say. I am speechless. The legend lives. 100 points, non-blind.
What's amazing is that the wine is almost totally flawed. There are many technical problems with this red, including four to six grams of residual sugar, and a volatile acidity of 1.2 grams, according to Lurton. He also said it had about 14.4 percent alcohol, which was high for those days.
No top winery today in the world would release a wine with those kinds of figures. Most critics would probably slaughter it with low points if it were made today. Yet the Cheval 1947 is a legend. Some say it is the greatest wine ever produced.
Makes you think. Perhaps we are all looking at perfection in a wine in the wrong way?