Pierre-Olivier Clouet

2000 Vintage by Pierre-Olivier Clouet, Technical Director from Château Cheval Blanc

2000 was fairly warm and very dry. The wines are concentrated and powerful.  Coinciding with the change of centuries, this is a very great vintage with an outstandingly intense bouquet.

WEATHER CONDITIONS AND VINE’S GROWING CYCLE

TEMPERATURES AND RAINFALL

Other than the cold and dry month of January, winter was wet and mild.

Spring was also temperate and rainy until mid-May. After a dry, warm month of June, July was once again rainy (69 mm). However, a long dry period set in starting on the 27th of July. This lasted all the way until the end of the harvest.

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. A definite water deficit existed starting in mid-summer. Despite the rain in July, this deficit not only continued, but increased due to the low precipitation in August and September.  This brought about an early end to vegetative growth in mid-August, which was particularly conducive to subsequent ripening.

GROWING SEASON

Taking place in the first week of April for both Merlot and Cabernet franc, bud break was slightly later than average. However, this was made up for soon thereafter because the dates for flowering and véraison are close to average. The harvest was early, starting on the 14th of September for Merlot and the 22nd of that month for Cabernet Franc.

Phenological stage Merlot
2000
Average 1994-2014 Cabernet franc
2000
Average
1994-2014
Bud break April, 1st March, 28th April, 7th April, 2nd
Flowering May, 30th May, 30th June, 1st June, 1st
Véraison August, 2nd August, 2nd August, 8th August, 8th
Beginning of the Harvest 14 septembre September, 19th September, 22th September, 27th
End of the Harvest September, 14th September, 27th September, 28th 5 octobre
Number of days between...
Bud break and Flowering 60 days 63 days 56 days 60 days
Flowering and Véraison 65 days 64 days 69 days 68 days
Véraison and Harvest 44 days 48 days 46 days 50 days

 

A wet spring, at the beginning of the growth cycle, was accompanied by an attack of mildew, but flowering went very well thanks to a dry spell starting on the 17th of May.  Beautiful weather at the end of July was ideal for ripening. The grapes were in perfect condition because there was no grey rot whatsoever in either Merlot or Cabernet Franc.

 

FEATURES OF THE VINTAGE

RIPENING AND YIELDS

The composition of the ripe grapes was balanced and impeccable. Sugar levels were good, as was the concentration of anthocyanins despite the slightly greater-than-average weight of the grapes (more than in 1998 and 1999). The quality of the grapes was relatively homogeneous, even if there were obviously differences due to specific grape varieties on specific plots. Fruit from dry gravel soils tended to have low sugar levels, but the small berries there nevertheless guaranteed a good concentration of phenolic compounds. On the other hand, grapes grown on clay soils were very sweet.  One vat reached 14.9° alcohol and no vat of Merlot weighte in at less than 13.2°.
The weather during the harvest was particularly fine, and there was only one day with rain (on the 20th of September).

2000 yields    (hl/ha) Average from 1996 to 2014
Merlot 49.7 38.9
Cabernet Franc 36 34.2

 

CELLAR WORK

Including 6% press wine, 2000 Cheval Blanc was aged in 100% new oak barrels.  

 

BLENDING

The final blend consists of 53 % Merlot, 47% Cabernet Franc. Despite the uneven quality, a very rigorous selection was made during blending (only 55% of the crop went into the grand vin), and 2000 Cheval Blanc is of truly outstanding quality.

> Zoom plots

Date of bottling: June 25th, 2002..

 

Degree of alcohol 13.5
Total acidity  (g H2 S04/L) 3.5
Volatile acidity (g H2 SO4/L) 0.62
pH 3.46
Total SO2 (mg/L) 89
Reducing sugar content (g/L) 1.2
IPT (DO280) -

 

2000 Cheval Blanc is a very great vintage: powerful and fully worthy of this first year of the new century 

 

TASTING NOTES

This was a warm, very dry year that enabled the grapes to ripen beautifully. The wine is concentrated, powerful, and very intense.

The colour is quite deep.

The rich, complex nose features wonderful aromas of spice and fresh fruit: raspberry, strawberry, blackberry, etc. The bouquet opens up further to reveal roasted overtones and hints of vanilla, coconut, bay leaf, and leather. Truffle and tobacco nuances denote tertiary development.

The wine starts out straightforward and fresh on the palate with fruity and liquorice flavours. The middle palate is powerful and tight. The silky tannin melts languorously on the palate, leading into a long, intense aftertaste.

Unusually, this vintage of Cheval Blanc highlights power and intensity. It is a very great wine with tremendous ageing potential that will go down in history as one of the château's finest.