1976 was fairly warm and early-maturing. Rain in August and September reduced a promising potential.  The grapes were very ripe, conferring a delicious impression of sweetness to the wine​.

1976 WEATHER CONDITIONS

TEMPERATURES AND RAINFALL

The weather was very dry at the beginning of the growing season (especially in April and June), but became more wet as the year went on. Temperatures were very high in June and July.  Showers arrived in mid-August, followed by a drier period in early September. However, rain returned starting on the 10th of September, which is to say during the harvest. This reduced the quality potential of the vintage because it damaged grapes that were already very ripe.

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 water deficit was at its height in August thanks to very hot temperatures that caused significant evaporation, but the situation was reversed later on.

FEATURES OF THE VINTAGE

RIPENING AND YIELDS

1976 was a very early-maturing year starting from flowering, which began two weeks ahead of the usual time. The harvest began on the 16nd of September and lasting until the 25th of that month. Yields were slightly above average.

  Begin End
1976 harvest dates September, 16th September, 25th
Average harvest dates: 1946-2014 September, 24th October, 8th

 

1976 yield    (hl/ha) Average yield: 1946 to 2014
36.7 33.9

 

Degree of alcohol 12.5
Total acidity (g H2 S04/L) 2.94
Volatile acidity (g H2 SO4/L) 0.64
pH -
Free SO2 (mg/L) 6
Reducing sugar content (g/L) 1.57
IPT (DO280) -

 

TASTING NOTES

The promising potential of the 1976 growing season was diminished by less favourable weather during the harvest.

1976 Cheval Blanc has a beautiful dark red colour with orange highlights and a brick-red rim.

The nose is powerful, but shows great finesse. It opens up to reveal a smooth, delicate bouquet of plum and violet, followed by tertiary aromas of fur and cedar.

The wine develops elegantly on the palate and it seems as though it was bidding for time to realise its full potential. The taste of ripe fruit, and especially prune, melts in the mouth with a silky texture. 1976 Cheval Blanc is delicious, with totally unaggressive tannin, and has stayed amazingly young. The aftertaste is fresh, elegant, and very long.

The wine has matured rather quickly. It is beautifully smooth and clearly has benefited from Cheval Blanc's outstanding terroir. There is no point in waiting any longer to drink it.