1973 was a difficult year in Bordeaux.   While aromatic and attractive, the wine was nevertheless early-maturing and is slowly fading today.

1973 WEATHER CONDITIONS

TEMPERATURES AND RAINFALL

After a cool, dry month of April, May was warm with nearly normal rainfall. June was about average as well, both in terms of temperature and precipitation. However, July was cool, with abundant rainfall (119 mm). August was dry and very hot (+2.1 °C compared with the monthly average). Unfortunately, September and October were also very rainy, which ended up being the leitmotif for this vintage.

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.  The poor weather this year precluded water stress and delayed ripening. 

FEATURES OF THE VINTAGE

RIPENING AND YIELDS

The rainy months of September and October delayed the ripening and therefore the harvest began on the 27th of September with Merlot grapes, and ended on the 12th of October.

  Begin End
1973 harvest dates September, 27th October, 12th
Average harvest dates: 1946-2014 September, 24th October, 8th

 

1973 yield    (hl/ha) Average yield (1946 to 2014)
42.6 33.9

 

Degree of alcohol 11.5
Total acidity (g H2 S04/L) 3.04
Volatile acidity (g H2 SO4/L) 0.53
pH 3.67
Free SO2 (mg/L) -
Reducing sugar content (g/L) 1.1
IPT (DO280) 42

 

TASTING NOTES

Everyone in Bordeaux had to cope with difficult weather in 1973, but Cheval Blanc managed to produce a good, aromatic wine this year that has aged well.

Slightly dilute, but pleasant when young, it has aged quickly. The wine is light, but pleasant. For a long time the oak showed through strongly, but this has since integrated and 1973 Cheval Blanc has all the charm of a very old wine.