It is not often that an estate makes both great white and red wines but Domaine de Chevalier manages to achieve just that. Since 1983 it has been run by Olivier Bernard, one of the nicest and wisest proprietors in Bordeaux. The Domaine, which is now 43 hectares, is producing wonderful wines.
2014 Domaine de Chevalier Blanc Cru Classé Pessac-Léognan
£288 per 6 In Bond
2014 produced some fantastic whites and Domaine de Chevalier stood out with its grace, elegance and Burgundian nuances. This is a very high class offering, with scores kicking at the heels of its far more expensive peers Haut Brion Blanc and La Mission Blanc.
The Domaine de Chevalier Blanc is a blend of 75% Sauvignon Blanc and 25% Sémillon matured in around 40% new oak, with a low pH, Olivier Bernard remarking that it was close to 3.0. It has an almost clinical nose, extremely well defined, Zen-like at first with scents of flint and cold granite, stone rather than fruit. The palate is fresh on the entry with crisp acidity, though it is not shrill. It is very focused, “minimalist” Domaine de Chevalier that Olivier remarked is perhaps the best he has ever made. Perhaps he is right. There is a Burgundy like sense of terroir coming through here, a wine that perhaps does not wish to conform to the Bordeaux stereotype of what a white Pessac-Léognan should be. So it’s a bit of a sui generis, a one-off, and you’ll love it.
Score: 93-95 Neal Martin, Wine Advocate (218)
Powerful and intense, the 2014 Domaine de Chevalier Blanc is very tightly wound today. Lemon peel, white flowers, slate and crushed rocks are all beautifully delineated. Blocked malolactic fermentations keep the flavors bright and the textures focused. The intensely mineral, salivating finish is a thing of pure beauty. There is little doubt the Chevalier Blanc is one of the wines of the vintage. Readers can look forward to several decades of exceptional drinking. In 2014, the blend is 70% Sauvignon Blanc and 30% Sémillon.
Score: 91-94 Antonio Galloni, vinousmedia.com
2014 Domaine de Chevalier Rouge Cru Classé Pessac-Léognan
£320 per 12 In Bond
Domaine de Chevalier Rouge is invariably one of the best value wines in Pessac Léognan. This 2014 is a very rewarding wine.
The Domaine de Chevalier 2014 is a blend of 64% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Petit Verdot and 30% Merlot. It has a fragrant bouquet with blackberry, black plum, cigar ash and woodland scents, complex though not as intense as its white counterpart. The palate is medium-bodied with grainy, quite firm tannin that underpin a classic Domaine de Chevalier that has just the right amount of austerity at this stage. Reserved perhaps, but it is beautifully knitted together with a lovely bay leaf tinged finish. Quintessential Domaine de Chevalier…which is what we all want.
Score: 92-94 Neal Martin, Wine Advocate (218)
The 2014 Domaine de Chevalier is stunningly beautiful. Dark red cherry, plum, smoke, spice and leather are all supported by veins of underlying acidity and minerality. Sweet floral and spice notes continue to open up over time, but it is the wine’s imposing structure that stands out most. Readers will need to be especially patient here, as the domaine’s wines are typically very slow to mature. That is especially like to be the case with the 2014, as the tannins are quite imposing at this stage. The 2014 is going to need a considerable amount of time. The only question is how much. I expect the 2014 will still be magnificent at age thirty and likely beyond. The 2014 is 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot and 5% Petit Verdot that spent approximately 35 days on the skins. Olivier Bernard adds that the Merlots were brought in between October 10 and 17, which is quite late by the domaine’s standards.
Score: 92-95 Antonio Galloni, vinousmedia.com
We have to confess a little bias based on our unreserved affection and respect for this great Domaine but both these 2014s are fabulous wines and highly recommended.