Some soft Merlot character mollifies the cool, fresh Cabernet fruit flavours. The medium-weight body is laced with supple tannins and firm freshness, quintessentially Pessac in style. Berry freshness, savoury bite, and a long, silky finish. The first wine of the tasting, and a delightful way to start.
The 2005 Domaine de Chevalier is velvety and pure with notes of ripe plums, bramble fruit and superb minerality. With its expert viticulture and winemaking, it has extracted all the qualities from the vintage yet has respected its trademark linear elegance. A Graves lover's wine. Superb.Drink 2012 - 2025+.
A glorious wine from Domaine de Chevalier, this 2005 reveals notes of graphite, subtle charcoal, blackberry and blackcurrant fruit, a medium to full-bodied mouthfeel, silky tannins, and a long, multi-dimensional finish. This is a killer effort from the Bernard family, who own this famous terroir in Pessac-Léognan. Drink: 2015-2045
Perhaps the finest wine made at this estate in many years (no doubt due to the influence of wine consulting guru Stephane Derenoncourt), the 2005 is a blend of 65% Cabernet Sauvignon and the rest primarily Merlot with tiny portions of Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. A dark ruby/purple hue is followed by a classic Graves bouquet of charcoal, graphite, creosote, smoked herbs, sweet black cherries, and spice box. The wine is elegant on the attack, but fills out beautifully with a multilayered, rich mouthfeel, silky tannins, and a plush, opulent finish. This brilliant claret may turn out to be even better than my score suggests. Anticipated maturity: 2014-2030+.
Now consulting at Domaine de Chevalier, Stephane Derenoncourt appears to have tamed the blatant oakiness evident in previous vintages as the 2005 is one of the strongest efforts from this estate in many years. The final blend, 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, and the rest Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc, was cropped at a low 43 hectoliters per hectare. This deep ruby/purple-tinged wine possesses more texture and richness than usual, yet retains a delicate elegance as well as a superb fragrance (red cherries, smoked herbs, spice, graphite, and charcoal), a sweet, savory, expansive mid-palate, neither the structure nor muscle of the Northern Medocs, but silky tannins and a long finish. It should be drinkable in 5-6 years, and last for 20-25. Impressive! Drink 2012-2032
This beauty offers a strong argument that this may be the finest Domaine de Chevalier since the 1970. Stephane Derenoncourt, who was hired as the winemaking consultant, has built in more texture while retaining the terroirs tell-tale elegance and fragrance. A blend of 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, and 5% Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc, it boasts an inky/ruby/purple color as well as a sumptuous perfume of lead pencil shavings, charcoal, black currants, cherries, smoked herbs, and spice. With soft tannin, medium to full body, beautiful opulence, impressive purity, and abundant tannin, it may close down after bottling. Anticipated maturity: 2008-2025.
Very dark crimson. Sweet, dark cherry notes. Broad spread of ripe fruit - very worked and flattering. The tannins are notably riper than in most wines of this appellation and almost unnoticeable. A crowd-pleaser - quite big and full-on. Drink 2015-28.
Lots of plum, raspberry and mineral aromas follow through to a medium-bodied palate, with fine tannins and a medium finish. Very balanced and refined.
Known for its exquisite Graves finesse, this property has been owned by Olivier Bernard since 1983. Consulting oenologist, Stéphane Dérononcourt was hired some years back which has contributed to the fresh and clean style. Meticulous parcel selection enables their grand vin to be the best representation of their impressive terroir.
Stretching from the rather unglamorous southern suburbs of Bordeaux, for 50 km along the left bank of the river Garonne, lies Graves. Named for its gravelly soil, a relic of Ice Age glaciers, this is the birthplace of claret, despatched from the Middle Ages onwards from the nearby quayside to England in vast quantities. It can feel as though Bordeaux is just about red wines, but some sensational white wines are produced in this area from a blend of sauvignon blanc, Semillon and, occasionally, muscadelle grapes, often fermented and aged in barrel. In particular, Domaine de Chevalier is renowned for its superbly complex whites, which continue to develop in bottle over decades. A premium appellation, Pessac-Leognan, was created in 1987 for the most prestigious terroirs within Graves. These are soils with exceptional drainage, made up of gravel terraces built up in layers over many millennia, and consequently thrive in mediocre vintages but are less likely to perform well in hotter years. These wines were appraised and graded in their own classification system in 1953 and updated in 1959, but, like the 1855 classification system, this should be regarded with caution and the wines must absolutely be assessed on their own current merits.