88 Points Robert Parker
Tasted at the château, the 1996 Cheval Blanc was a majority of Cabernet Franc although the exact blend is not known. Firstly, the color is a healthy garnet with a mahogany rim. The bouquet has good intensity although it is certainly not a complex set of aromas: dusky black fruit, game, clove and a faint touch of hickory. The palate is quite sharp on the entry with noticeable acidity. My main criticism is a lack of cohesion and a lack of Merlot to bind everything together and lend fleshiness. It seems to be rather monochromatic, a Cheval Blanc with a single note, the finish conservative with a touch of black pepper and cooked meat, but a little frayed around the edges. I would drink bottles now and maybe larger formats would yield more pleasure. The bottom line is this is not one of the great Cheval Blancs and that is reflected in my score. Tasted July 2016.
Source: Robert Parker (Robert Parker Wine Advocate) by Neal Martin. October, 2016
"The elegant, moderately weighted 1996 Cheval Blanc reveals a deep garnet/plum, evolved color. Quintessentially elegant, with a complex nose of black fruits, coconut, smoke, and pain grille, this medium-bodied wine exhibits sweet fruit on the attack, substantial complexity, and a lush, velvety-textured finish. It is very soft and evolved for a 1996. Anticipated maturity: 2000-2015."
Robert Parker, Wine Advocate #122 April 1999