Pierre-Olivier Clouet

1947 Vintage by Pierre-Olivier Clouet, Technical Director from Château Cheval Blanc

1947 is considered a miraculous vintage, the greatest Cheval Blanc of the 20th century. It is both very powerful and extremely well-balanced. Due to its high percentage of alcohol, combined with some residual sugar, many tasters consider this wine totally extraordinary and unique in the world of wine. Despite its age, it is in spectacular form and utterly fascinating.

CLIMATIC CONDITIONS

WEATHER AND GROWING SEASON

The 1947 vintage was abnormally hot and dry, which accounted for very concentrated grapes. The harvest began on the 15th of September, i.e. two weeks before the usual date.

  Begin end
1947 harvest dates September, 15th October, 4th
Average harvest dates: 1946-2014 September, 24th October, 8th

 

FEATURES OF THE VINTAGE

YIELDS AND CELLAR WORK

1947 Yields    (hl/ha) Average yield: 1946 to 2014
37.4 33,9

 

The overall level of alcohol was 14.4°. Since the beginning of the 20th century, only the 1929 vintage had produced riper grapes (14°6 potential alcohol).  
The sweet juice combined with hot weather during the harvest made fermentation difficult, even calling for bringing huge blocks of ice in from Bordeaux every day in order to cool down the cellar.  
The wine is not perfectly dry (there are 3 g/l of residual sugar) and the level of volatile acidity is rather high. However, these two factors actually help support the structure and enhance the aromas. That is because the wine's natural richness does not make them seem like defects.  It can even be said that this great wine is something of an accident. During this post-war period, the estate did not have access to new barrels, so ones five to ten years old, were used.

 

TASTING NOTES

11th August 2015

The nose of this legendary wine is marked by alcohol. Incredibly rich, the aromas of this wine include pastry, macaroon, almond, fig, cherry kernel, and orange.

The aromas of almond also evoke fruit brandy. Especially, strawberry jam dominates this nose of a rare and sublime complexity.

In the mouth the wine seems thicker and alcohol is noticeable. Fat and dense, it is a full, rich and complete wine. It seems maderized, with aromas of plum pie, but with a touch of freshness which translates into aromas of fresh figs, but also by intense floral aromas of wisteria and white flowers such as acacia.

After aeration, coffee, mocha and cocoa reveal, together with acacia honey. Its length is endless and remains with a very intense perception.

15th April 2010

1947 is considered the greatest Cheval Blanc of the 20th century.

It features rich, generous, extraordinarily complex aromas that defy description. Often compared to vintage Port, 1947 Cheval Blanc has a bouquet of candied fruit, quince paste, mocha, spices, pepper, chocolate, and coffee. Its high alcoholic degree confers an amazing sweetness and ripeness. The quality of the soft, smooth tannin is utterly incomparable. The aftertaste is a never-ending firework display, and without any dryness.

A fascinating wine: absolutely unique in the world of wine.