Cheval Blanc and you / Service and food pairing
With this rubric Cheval Blanc wishes to share with you advice, details and points of view to make your tasting experience as unique and accurate as possible.
Pairing with food lies at the very heart of Cheval Blanc’s DNA. In the same way that Cabernet Franc and Merlot are the perfect match in blends, this First Growth Class A shows at its very best when served with food. Although a Cheval Blanc can be served throughout a meal, from the starter to the dessert, it’s tricky to give suggestions for pairings as they will vary according to the season. So, to avoid the risk of over-complication, it is easier to mention the pairings that don’t work.
Some ingredients do nothing for our wines either because of their acidity or due to their vegetal characteristics. In particular; tomatoes, eggs, charcuterie, cucumber, peas, bell peppers, goat’s cheese and blue and ripe cheeses. Citrus sauces and strong sauces with aniseed, dill and fennel won’t do the wines any favours either. You should also avoid very sweet desserts and go for lighter fruit-based dishes.
On the other hand, Château Cheval Blanc goes particularly well with fish such as monkfish, cod, turbot and John Dory, especially if accompanied by earthy ingredients like mushrooms, for example. For more detailed advice about food and wine matching, we suggest you speak to a sommelier.
Once you have taken the crucial decision to open a bottle, next follows the question of service. The ideal temperature is between 15°C to 17°C. This is not an immutable rule, however: in reality, this can depend upon the time of year. Regardless of this, don’t be afraid to leave the bottle in your cellar until the last moment, or of serving it too cold; it will warm up quickly in your glass.
If your bottle is less than ten years old, we recommend decanting it for an hour before service. As befits a wine from a great terroir, our wines are renowned for their capacity to age and evolve. A young Château Cheval Blanc may be slightly austere if it is not lightly aerated before service.
With the exception of these specific circumstances, we recommend that you don’t decant the wine in order to preserve its complexity and so that you can enjoy its evolution during the tasting; capture the delicacy of the initial aromas and the fullness of its bouquet. The initial aromas are the most delicate and volatile. Because of this, decanting will diminish the complexity of a Château Cheval and limit its potential. If the greatest characteristic of a wine lies in its intensity, it can often be the underlying, subtle layers which prove to be the richest and most interesting.
It’s tricky to give suggestions for pairings as they will vary according to the season
Discover our other advices
Ageing and storage
A wine’s greatness lies in its ability to improve with age and reach its maximum potential as the years go by. The wines of Cheval Blanc are rare in that they are exceptional at all stages in their development, from very young to over a century old in particular vintages.
Knowledge and tasting
In order to fully appreciate a wine, it is important to understand its identity, its story, its roots and the journey it has travelled. The impact of vintage is vital and, in this regard, key vintages at Cheval Blanc can segmented into three main categories.