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Cheval Blanc Lost Up to 40% of Its 2017 Wine to Frost; Petit Cheval Severely Hit

April 15, 2018

Photo: Guy Collins

Chateau Cheval Blanc, one of the top four ranked estates in Saint Emilion, lost up to 40 percent of its main wine to last April's frosts and saw production of its Petit Cheval second wine even more seriously hit, according to Technical Director Pierre-Olivier Clouet.

Production of the main wine will be between 45,000 and 50,000 bottles for 2017, compared with the average over 10 years of about 75,000, he said. For Petit Cheval, only 4,000 bottles will be made compared with the normal 15,000. 

``We won't sell Petit Cheval en primeur,'' he said, referring to the Bordeaux futures system by which wine is sold in barrel two years or more before it is available for physical delivery. ``We have to keep back 2,000, so only 2,000 are available.''

The blend for the main wine in 2017 was 56 percent Merlot, 30 percent Cabernet Franc and 14 percent Cabernet Sauvignon, so ``a little more Cabernet Sauvignon, less Cabernet Franc,'' Clouet said during a tasting of the wines at the estate April 11, describing the style as ``very classical.'' By contrast the 2015 Cheval Blanc was a blend of 55 percent Merlot and 45 percent Cabernet Franc.

For the second wine Petit Cheval, the blend for 2017 was 52 percent Merlot and 48 percent Cabernet Franc.

Harvesting took place over an unusually long period from Sept. 6 to Oct. 11, partly reflecting rain in the second week of September followed by warm, dry weather later in the month and into early October. Yields were just 21 hectoliters per hectare, severely reduced by the frost. 


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