1990 was a hot, especially dry, and early-ripening year. The crop was perfectly ripe with very rich berries.  

This is a very unusual vintage of Petit Cheval since it is composed of 98% Cabernet Franc. It is rich, concentrated, and has a very long aftertaste​.



1990 was a hot, dry year. The temperature taken over a year was 1.1° above average and the water deficit from April to September was 89 mm. There were 11 days in July with maximum temperatures of over 35°C, and closer to 40°C on some of them. There was also 29% more bright sunshine than average during the months of July, August, and September.


In order to grow well, the vine needs for water stress to set in slowly so the grapes to ripen well and become concentrated. There was a marked water deficit. 1990 was one of the driest vintages in 60 years.


The growing season got off to a record early start: bud break on about the 15th of March and flowering around the 25th of May. A frost on the 27th of March caused little damage and was more compensated by the huge number of buds. After relatively early véraison, ripening was very quick. The harvest was quite early, starting on the 11th of September and finishing on the 25th.  Only two vintages were harvested earlier in the twentieth century: 1945 and 1989.

  Merlot Cabernet franc
  Begin End Begin End
1990 harvest dates September, 11th September, 13th September, 19th September, 25th
Average harvest dates (1986-2014) September, 19th September, 27th September, 27th October, 5th




The grapes were perfectly ripe, very rich in sugar and phenolic compounds, and low in acidity.  
The alcoholic degree was 13.6° and many vats of Merlot exceeded 14°. 
There were all the makings of a very great vintage thanks to the excellent state of the fruit.  1990 was the first year when green harvesting was done at Cheval Blanc, which meant that yields were close to average despite the huge potential crop at the beginning of the season.

1990 yield    (hl/ha) Average yield (1946 to 2014)
40.2 33.9


Volume in bottles: 20 359.

Degree of alcohol 12.5
Total acidity (g H2 S04/L) 3.33
Volatile acidity (g H2 SO4/L) 0.61
pH -
Total SO2 (mg/L) 116
Reducing sugar content (g/L) 1.9
IPT (DO280) -



1990 Petit Cheval consists of 98% Cabernet Franc and just 2% Merlot.

The intense dark red colour is very attractive.

The concentrated and somewhat exotic nose is redolent of prune, candied fruit, and toast, as well as elegant oaky nuances.

Rich and powerful on the palate, this generous wine has ripe fruit, Morello cherry, and cocoa flavours. It is relatively tannic and has a beautiful long aftertaste.

1990 Petit Cheval is very tasty, with a memorable finish - a treat that can be enjoyed as of now.