A visit and lunch with Olivier Bernard is always a highlight of any Bordeaux trip, especially listening to his views on prices on the market in his role as President of the Union des Grand Crus. He is always sensible with his price and has built a big following around the world. A true ambassador of Bordeaux.
Before lunch we tasted the 2015s which were showing very well. Olivier places his 2015 red alongside 2005, 2009 and 2010 in terms of quality, but stylistically more like a blend of 2005 (for its freshness) and 2009 (for its exotic fruit). He called it a model of precision, and with an alcohol level of around 13% it sings of harmony and balance.
“wonderful focus and class… a fabulous, intellectual wine… expect four decades of drinking pleasure” Neal Martin, 95-97
“Lovely appetising low-key classicism. Bravissimo à tous!” Jancis Robinson MW, 18
“one of the most striking wines of the year” Antonio Galloni, 93-96
This wine has a great future ahead of it, a point picked up by all the major critics, with the potential to live for several decades.
The white is also a great success and, as always ranks, with the top white Bordeaux produced in the vintage.
“An absolutely model dry-white-bordeaux-style wine.” Jancis Robinson MW, 18
“another superb vintage that proves this is one of the very best white wines in Bordeaux.” Decanter, 95
Domaine de Chevalier Rouge Cru Classé Pessac-Léognan 2015
£460 per 12 bottles IB
£470 per 6 magnums (150cl) IB
This is a feel-good wine, if ever there was one. Lively bright wild hedgerow fruits, with hints of smoke and coffee bean. A graceful and giving style, which in the words of one critic, fires on all cylinders… Extremely complete and will give enormous pleasure with age. Drink 2022-2040. Goedhuis, Score: 94-96
It has a sophisticated bouquet that is more reserved than its peers. It possesses one of the most precise, detailed aromatic profiles that I have encountered from this estate, wonderfully poised with black fruit, incense and cold stone. It has wonderful focus and class. The palate is medium-bodied with very fine tannin, very complex with lightly peppered black fruit. What marks this Domaine de Chevalier is the reserve and precision on the finish, a wine that is holding something back for its secondary evolution, a salinity that beckons you back for another sip. What a fabulous, intellectual wine from Olivier Bernard. Expect four decades of drinking pleasure – probably more – given my experience of ancient vintages. Neal Martin, Score: 95-97
Great tension and subtlety. Extremely savoury – almost salty – with freshness and ripeness. Not one of the deepest colours. Lovely appetising low-key classicism. Bravissimo à tous! Drink 2024-2045 Jancis Robinson, Score: 18
The 2015 Domaine de Chevalier is one of the most striking wines of the year. Weightless, powerful and intense, the 2015 possesses crystalline delineation and precision from the very first taste. Bright red stone fruit, pomegranate, chalk and mint are some of the signatures. In the last of my four tastings, the Domaine de Chevalier showed tremendous richness and intensity as well. It will be interesting to see where the 2015 ends up. The future certainly looks bright. Antonio Galloni, Score: 93-96
Domaine de Chevalier Blanc Cru Classé Pessac-Léognan 2015
£342.50 per 6 bottles IB
A great example of the freshness and generosity of the best 2015 whites. Its excellent acidity gives the palate a zingy drive. A creamy texture sits beneath juicy white peach with a twist of citrus, which flows to a mouth-watering finish. This wine promises to be dangerously moreish from an early age. Drink 2019 – 2026. Goedhuis, Score: 94-96
The 2015 Domaine de Chevalier Blanc, which is matured in around 40% new oak, has a refined bouquet with gooseberry, lime, almond and grapefruit aromas, the oak neatly interwoven, gradually unfolding in the glass yet remaining focused. The palate has an almost flinty opening, very edgy but not shrill, a tensile and linear Domaine de Chevalier Blanc that is driven by the acidity, touches of crustacea coming through on the energetic finish. There is a twist of sour lemon and chalk popping up on the aftertaste. This is a great, intellectual, comparatively more reserved white from Olivier Bernard. Neal Martin, Score: 92-94
Clearly working in a reductive environment during ageing, emphasising a lovely sense of precision. Mouthwatering, watermelon juiciness, with round citrus underneath. A clear seam of freshness that runs through, and the palate is on an upward trajectory from start to finish with a slow build of wet stones. Yet another superb vintage that proves this is one of the very best white wines in Bordeaux. Decanter, Score: 95
Smoky, stony nose – obviously ‘serious’. Very distinctive. Very mineral. Bone dry. Juicy. An absolutely model dry-white-bordeaux-style wine. Oakiness not an issue. All vineyard. Drink 2019-2030 Jancis Robinson, Score: 18