Pierre-Olivier Clouet

1961 Vintage by Pierre-Olivier Clouet, Technical Director from Château Cheval Blanc

1961 is an outstanding year. The frost on the 29th of May reduced the crop to just 11 hectolitres per hectare. Then, beautiful dry summer weather ripened the grapes to perfection. The wine is concentrated and classy, with superb tannin.

1961 WEATHER CONDITIONS

TEMPERATURES AND RAINFALL

1961 is a great year. The month of April was very hot (2.7°C above average), but with average rainfall. The temperatures the following months were also fairly normal, but there was far less precipitation than usual.  September was simply outstanding, with an average temperature of 21.4°C (3.5°C greater than average), with very little rain.

WATER BALANCE

In order to grow well, the vine needs for water stress to set in slowly so the grapes to ripen well and become concentrated. In fact, the lack of precipitation from May to September was propitious to just the right degree of water stress.

FEATURES OF THE VINTAGE

GROWING SEASON AND YIELDS

The growing season started off very well, until the 29th of May, when a frost hit just as the vines were flowering.  As opposed to 1991, this occurred sufficiently late in the season so that there was not a second generation of berries. The rest of the season was perfect, and the grapes ripened extremely well. 
The harvest began on the 18th of September and finished on the 27th of the same month. Yields were just 11 hectolitres per hectare. Total production amounted to only 160 barrels, but of sublime quality. The château bought new barrels for this outstanding vintage, which was very rare at the time. 
Degree of alcohol: 12.5°.

  Begin End
  1961 harvest dates September, 18th September, 27th
Average harvest dates: 1946-2014 September, 24th October, 8th

 

1961 yield   (hl/ha) Average yield: 1946 to 2014
11.2 33.9

 

TASTING NOTES

20th July 2015

Very rich and very ripe, the nose stands on very complex and intense aromas of black fruit, jam, hot milk and caramel, but also on slightly peaty humus aromas, fresh earth, and on notes of tobacco and hay.

In the mouth, the sweetness signs this remarkably rich and complex wine. The tannic structure is dense and chiseled, powerful and elegant at once. This very elegant wine features infinite length.

15th April 2010

This is an utterly outstanding vintage, one of the finest in the 20th century. A frost very late in the year (29th of May) reduced yields drastically and naturally concentrated the few grapes that had survived the cold. Production amounted to just 11 hectares per hectare.

The colour is deep and dark but, unsurprisingly shows signs of its great age.

The intense nose is still very fresh, with marked truffle aromas as well as hints of leather and cedar.

The wine shows truffle on the palate as well, along with cep nuances typical of old wine. In fact, the flavour is altogether exhilarating: complex and mysterious, with an explosion of incredibly pure and precise impressions.

Very concentrated and tannic, but still fresh, 1961 Cheval Blanc has great length without any hardness on the finish. On the contrary, it seems slightly sweet and shows the impeccable balance of very great wines.

 Exemplifying Cheval Blanc's aristocratic qualities, the 1961 vintage combines fresh fruit, tremendous concentration, and elegance in an immortal wine full of mystery.