1988 was a cool and dry year.

The first vintage of Château Cheval Blanc's second wine was a wonderful beginning. 1988 Petit Cheval has its own identity, and its quality and ageing potential are obvious.

WEATHER CONDITIONS AND VINE’S GROWING CYCLE

TEMPERATURES AND RAINFALL

The temperatures were close to average from April to the end of September, except for the cool month of July. The thermometer went over 33.5°C for three of the first ten days of September. However, it was rather cool at the end of the ripening period. The beginning of the growth cycle was wet, but a very dry spell set in starting in late June. There were just 90 mm. of precipitation from July to September.

WATER BALANCE

A slight degree of water stress appeared starting in late June.  This water deficit, accentuated in July, August, and September due to limited rainfall, was unquestionably beneficial to the vines.

GROWING SEASON

After a cool, wet spring, the growing season was off to a somewhat late start in 1988. Flowering took place around the 10th of June and véraison occurred on about the 20th of August.  Although there was a threat of mildew at the beginning of the growth cycle, this was completely thwarted by the return of fine weather after flowering. The weather was beautiful during the harvest, which lasted from the 1st to the 10th of October.

  Merlot Cabernet franc
  Begin End Begin End
1988 harvest dates October, 1st October, 4th October, 4th October, 10th
Average harvest dates (1986-2014) September, 19th September, 27th September, 27th October, 5th

 

FEATURES OF THE VINTAGE

RIPENING AND YIELDS

The relatively cool, but very dry conditions during ripening were ideal for locking in rich aromas. The grapes were ripe, but not at all overripe, and displayed a great balance between sugar and acidity. Yields were fairly high: 40 hectolitres per hectare 1988 Cheval Blanc is a great Bordeaux: very classic and with great ageing potential.

1988 yield    (hl/ha) Average yield: 1946 to 2014
40.8 33.9

 

Degree of alcohol 13
Total acidity (g H2 S04/L) 3.33
Volatile acidity (g H2 SO4/L) 0.6
pH -
Total SO2 (mg/L) 132
Reducing sugar content (g/L) 1.2
IPT (DO280) -

 

TASTING NOTES

The first vintage of Château Cheval Blanc's second wine was a wonderful beginning. 1988 Petit Cheval has its own identity, and its quality and ageing potential are obvious.

Fortunately, the very first cuvée of Petit Cheval 1988 is a great success.

 It has a carmine colour with brick-red highlights.

The nose is quite developed: elegant and complex, with hints of cinnamon, cocoa, forest floor, cedar, and ink.

The wine starts out straightforward and smooth on the palate, with considerable freshness. The structure is rather light, with soft tannin.

This first vintage of Petit Cheval augers extremely well for Cheval Blanc's second wine. It lays claim to its own identity, with aromas and flavours that set it apart from the grand vin. It is delicious to drink now, and is at its peak.