Petit cheval blanc 2018

Le Petit Cheval

The 2018 vintage will stick in people’s memories because of the extensive presence of mildew in the vineyards. Fortunately, the weather took an about-turn in August, September and October resulting in a harvest of exceptional quality.

The 2018 vintage will stick in people’s memories because of the extensive presence of mildew in the vineyards. Fortunately, the weather took an about-turn in August, September and October resulting in a harvest of exceptional quality.

Weather conditions and vine’s growing cycle

Temperatures and rainfall

After a very wet January, the weather in February was normal for the season. There was twice the usual rain in March whilst April was in line with the norm. May and June were very wet although not unusually so. Finally, dry weather set in from mid-June. The temperatures in the first half of the year were normal although February was exceptionally cold and April was a couple of degrees warmer than average. Moderate temperatures were recorded in July and August. These months were fairly dry apart from some rainfall in the first week of July. September was quite dry with only 26 mm of rainfall. As a result, the grapes reached perfect maturity and the harvest was completed in October in glorious weather.

2018 : TEMPERATURES AND RAINFALL COMPARED WITH NORMAL VALUES IN SAINT-EMILION

Water balance

The chronology of the rainfall enhanced the quality of the grapes. The heavy rains during the first half of the year built up important water reserves which meant that the vegetation could cope well with the dry conditions in July and August. The lack of rain in September did place hydric stress on young vines on gravel soils, however. The clay and sandy clay soils coped well. Thanks to a wet month in March, followed by normal conditions in April and wet months in May and June, 2018 was classified as a wet vintage as at 30 June. After a very wet start to the vegetative cycle, 2018 ended up being a very dry vintage, in fact, thanks to the dry conditions in July, August and September.  By 30 September, this vintage was one of the driest recorded since 1952 along with 1990, 2000 and 2016. For the duration of the cycle, the water regime was very similar to that of the 2000 vintage. The dry conditions in September helped the ripening process and the grapes reached maturity in mid-October in very dry conditions. The three ‘terroirs’ at Cheval Blanc coped well with the water regime, even on gravels soils which fared much better than in 2016. The water regime in the summer and towards the end of the season was particularly helpful for the clay soils.

2018 WATER BALANCE

Growing season

The budburst was within the norms; 11 April for the Merlot and 14 April for the Cabernet Franc. Mid-flowering took place on 28 May for the Merlot, 1 June for the Cabernet Sauvignon and 2 June for the Cabernet Franc. The wet conditions didn’t affect the flowering which was dense and homogenous. ‘Veraison’ took place between 30 July and 8 August depending upon the varietal. The extremely dry conditions during the summer halted growth prematurely. The harvest was drawn out, lasting from 10 September to 11 October. The grapes reached optimum ripeness thanks to the dry summer weather and the good weather conditions at the end of the season. This meant that each plot could be picked just as it reached perfect maturity. Overall, the harvest was extremely healthy.

Phenological stage Merlot Average 1996-2018 Cabernet franc Average 1996-2018
Bud break April, 11th March, 30th April, 13th April, 4th
Flowering May, 28th May, 28th June, 2nd June, 1st
Véraison July, 30th August, 2nd August, 8th August, 7th
Beginning of the harvest September, 10th September, 18th September, 24th September, 27th
Number of days between
Bud break and flowering 59 days 62 days 58 days 60 days
Flowering and véraison 63 days 64 days 67 days 67 days
Véraison and harvest 45 days 47 days 45 days 50 days

 

Blending

2018 CHEVAL BLANC BLENDING

Tasting

Ruby red colour, characteristic of its youth.The nose starts out intense, with balsamic notes and aromas of cocoa, caramel, and vanilla, combined with fruity nuances reminiscent of cherry and strawberry. Swirling in the glass enhances these fruity hints. The wine’s freshness is brought out with liquorice overtones along side wonderfully expressive notes of Virginia tobacco. On the palate, this wine is full-bodied and silky, with round, delicate and smooth tannin mid-palate.The long finish is redolent of very ripe red fruit. A very rich wine that is guaranteed to please!
Tastings
01/03/2019

Ruby red colour, characteristic of its youth.The nose starts out intense, with balsamic notes and aromas of cocoa, caramel, and vanilla, combined with fruity nuances reminiscent of cherry and strawberry. Swirling in the glass enhances these fruity hints. The wine’s freshness is brought out with liquorice overtones along side wonderfully expressive notes of Virginia tobacco.
On the palate, this wine is full-bodied and silky, with round, delicate and smooth tannin mid-palate.The long finish is redolent of very ripe red fruit. A very rich wine that is guaranteed to please!