Pierre-Olivier Clouet

1985 Vintage by Pierre-Olivier Clouet, Technical Director from Château Cheval Blanc

This was a cool year, except for the month of September.  August, September, and October were very dry. The wine is complete and very rich, but with good balance and a remarkable impression of sweetness. Despite being thirty years old, we still feel it has not reached its peak​.



May and June were cool and wet, whereas July was warm and rather wet, especially at the beginning of the month.  August was relatively cool and very dry.  September was the most beautiful month of the year: very warm, very dry, and very sunny (+ 45% compared to an average year). This superb weather continued into October, even though temperatures were closer to average during this month.


In order to grow well, the vine needs for water stress to set in slowly so the grapes to ripen well and become concentrated. Major showers at the beginning of the growing season did not make it possible for water stress to set in until later in the year thanks to beautiful weather in August and September.



The harvest began on the 1st of October and lasted until the 17th of that month. The grapes were perfectly ripe and in great condition. The freshly-presse juiced showed considerable balance.  
The yields were generous in 1985.

  Begin End
1985 harvest dates October, 1st October, 17th
Average harvest dates: 1946-2014 September, 24th October, 8th


1985 yield    (hl/ha) Average yield: 1946 to 2014
48.8 33.9


Degree of alcohol 12.5
Total acidity (g H2 S04/L) 2.95
Volatile acidity (g H2 SO4/L) 0.49
pH -
Total SO2 (mg/L) 92
Reducing sugar content (g/L) 1.2
IPT (DO280) -



Perfectly balanced, 1985 Cheval Blanc combines the typical freshness and ageing potential of Cabernet Franc and the tasty fruitiness of Merlot picked at just the right degree of ripeness.

The colour is deep, intense, and pretty much showing its age.

The nose is full, concentrated, and much influenced by Merlot, with very ripe (but not overripe) blackcurrant notes as well as nuances of smoke, leather, fur, cedar, and forest floor.

The wine starts out rich, full-bodied, and velvety on the palate, accompanied by an impression of sweetness. Although the great freshness implies that the wine still has a long way to go despite its 30 years, the 1985 vintage is also a delight to drink now, and superbly aromatic. The aftertaste is beautifully long and balanced.

This is a powerful wine that is best enjoyed today be decanting beforehand both to aerate the wine and remove it from its sediment.