From Great Vintages by Michael Broadbent
1947 Ch. Cheval-Blanc, St.-Emilion
For those who were unaware of its success in the 1921 and 1929, 1947 was the first really eye-opening vintage of Cheval-Blanc. It did for this chateau what the ’31 vintage did for Quinta Noval; set it on a pedestal. I have been privileged to taste Cheval-Blanc ’47 on ten occasions from 1959, when it was impressive but seemed unready, though the 1960s, when it was consistently rich and lovely. Three bottled by Harvey’s were excellent; two Belgian bottlings, rich but showing some end acidity in 1977. Last tasted from a chateau-bottled magnum: colour still very deep and fine; a complacent, abundantly confident bouquet, calm, rich, distinguished – but it did not open up and blossom in the glass like a great Medoc; slightly sweet, plump, almost fat, ripe, incredibly rich, high in alcohol. A magnificent wine, almost port-like. Last tasted at Saintsbury Club dinner, April 1980 ***** Drink now – ad infinitum?
1945 Ch. Mouton-Rothschild, Pauillac
This is not claret, it is Mouton ’45, surely one of the giants of all time – and one of the few wines I might lay claim to identify almost on sight, certainly on nose. A Churchill of a wine. First tasted in 1954 and noted, after just two years in the wine trade, that the nose was “amazing… quite unlike any other claret, reminiscent of mango chutney”. Tasted on 14 occasions over the past quarter-century. It still has a magnificent, deep, almost opaque appearance, ruby with a pronounced mahogany rim; fabulous and, I like to think, totally unmistakable bouquet – highly concentrated, intense black currant Cabernet-Sauvignon aroma, touch of cinnamon – and flavour to match. Ripe, rich yet with the body and component parts to keep it in balance for years to come. Last tasted November 1978 *****Drink now – 2050