Premier Grand Cru Classe 'A'
LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SA and Albert Frere
39 hectares (96 acres)
49% Cabernet Franc, 47% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Sauvignon
Archives show vines on the site of Cheval Blanc going back to at least the 15th century, according to its website. A document from 1546 shows the owner at the time leasing the vineyard, and a contract dated 1587 specifies that a sharecropper "will live there when the sun goes down to keep an eye on the vines."
In 1832 Jean-Jacques Ducasse, president of the Libourne Trade Tribunal, bought what is the core of the current vineyard, and over the next 20 years acquired land from neighboring Chateau Figeac to create the 39-hectare estate that exists now. The marriage of his daughter Henriette to Jean Laussac-Fourcaud, a Libourne wine merchant, led to the further development of the property.
Laussac-Fourcaud was one of the first people to understand the importance of water stress to produce fine wine, according to the Chateau's website, and he installed an efficient drainage system. He also replanted part of the vineyard in the 1860s with an unusual mix of half Merlot and half Cabernet Franc, finishing the operation in 1871. The wine was originally known as Vin de Figeac, and was first sold under the name Cheval Blanc in 1852.
It won a bronze medal at the 1862 Universal Exhibition in London, a gold medal at the 1878 Universal Exhibition in Paris and another gold at the Universal Exhibition in Antwerp. From the 1880s it began to be considered on a par with the first growths of the Medoc and was in the same price bracket as Margaux, Latour, Lafite and Haut-Brion in the auction houses of Paris and London, according to its website.
After Jean Laussac-Fourcaud died in 1888, his widow inherited the estate, later leaving it to her son Albert. He had reversed his name, calling himself Albert Fourcaud-Laussac. He installed 12 wooden vats that remained in use until 1966, and oversaw significant investment in the vineyard. His two sons Jacques and Joseph Fourcaud-Laussac, continued in the tradition of their father and grandfather, and kept the same cellar master, Gaston Vaissiere, who oversaw wines at the estate for 44 years. It was ranked as a Premier Grand Cru Classe `A' in the Saint Emilion classification of 1954 and has retained that status ever since.
In 1998 French luxury-goods billionaire Bernard Arnault and Belgian entrepreneur Baron Albert Frere bought the property, entrusting direction of winemaking to Pierre Lurton. Arnault's share was subsequently sold to the Paris-based international company he founded and runs, LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SA.
Vineyard divided into 45 plots, each with different characteristics
Average Age of Vines
Fine soil textured with clay, coarser soil textured with gravel and large gravel with sand
On the north-western edge of the Saint-Emilion plateau bordering Pomerol
6,000 square meter cellar designed by Christian de Portzamparc inaugurated in 2011
52 concrete vats in nine sizes ranging from 20 to 110 hectoliters.
Barrel aging from late November or December in 100% new oak barrels
After three months in barrels, for a brief period in a 220-hectoliter stainless steel tank
Le Petit Cheval
Prices are from London-based merchant Fine+Rare, in pounds per 12 bottles in bond, unless otherwise indicated. They may also be drawn from surveying websites of the following merchants and brokers, or market comparison websites. If so, the source is indicated.
AFW Atlas Fine Wines
BIL BI LiveTrade
BON Bonham's Auctions
CHR Christie's Auctions
FVN Farr Vintners
FRW Fine + Rare Wines
J&B Justerini & Brooks
SOB Sotheby's Auctions
WOS Wine Owners
WSC Wine Searcher
While every effort is made to check the accuracy of prices and quantities quoted, they are subject to change on a daily basis and therefore cannot be guaranteed. Prices are intended as reference only and should be cross-checked against original source websites.