Domaine de Chevalier 2020
• Domaine: Domaine de Chevalier
• Appellation: Pessac-Léognan
• Classification: Grand Cru Classé de Graves
• Origin: Left Bank, Bordeaux, France
The philosophy at Domaine de Chevalier is that 90 percent of the work is done in the vineyards and the remaining ten percent is done in the vat room. This Grand Cru Classé estate in the Pessac-Léognan carveout of the Graves appellation is surrounded by forests, which protect the precious vines from extreme weather. Many refer to Domaine de Chevalier as a, “secret garden,” hidden in the middle of this heavily wooded area in Graves and if you were fortunate enough to visit the estate, it may be hard to find amongst the trees. Though Domaine de Chevalier may not be as well-known of a property as some of the Classified Growths in the Médoc, that does not mean it shouldn’t be on any discerning wine buyer’s radar. The wines of Domaine de Chevalier are consistently of impeccable quality, making it a property that very much deserves recognition on a wider scale.
Domaine de Chevalier is presently run by Olivier Bernard, a man with a long family legacy entrenched in the Bordeaux wine trade. Olivier Bernard’s family was initially in the brandy business prior to switching over to winemaking. He was asked to run Domaine de Chevalier at the tender age of 23 years old -- and almost considered not taking the opportunity. His family trusted him, believing winemaking was in his blood. Eventually, Olivier rose to the challenge – much to the benefit of the estate. Since he took over operations in the 1980s, he kept the winemaking team on board but implemented a lot of changes to the property. When Olivier acquired the Domaine de Chevalier, it was only a 18-hectare estate. Olivier expanded it to the 65 planted hectares it is today. He initiated a long-term replanting process in 1988 that finished in 1995. Today, the property is sustainably farmed, and 30 hectares are farmed using biodynamic viticultural practices.
Frosts in the area can be problematic for the vineyard, and Olivier often uses wind machines and sometimes helicopters to protect the plantings of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot, Cabernet Franc, Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon from extreme weather. Picking is often done in the vineyard, and for their white wine, Domaine de Chevalier Blanc, the grapes are then taken to a special room that is kept very cold to preserve freshness of the delicate white varietals. The only other property that implements this practice in Bordeaux for their white wine is Château Margaux.
The philosophy of Domaine de Chevalier is about serving the needs of the fruit in the vat room. The resulting wines are fresh, ethereal and sophisticated, with the potential to age for several years. Olivier Bernard believes that as vignerons, they have 12 months to create one vintage. In his mind, the winemaking process is a series of steps leading to the critical period that is harvest time. If they do everything right, one vintage may be remembered for 30 years or more. In the case of Domaine de Chevalier it seems this philosophy serves them well, considering some of their top vintages are some of the most memorable wines from Graves.
"Medium to deep garnet-purple in color, the 2020 Domaine de Chevalier comes skipping out of the glass with energetic scents of ripe red and black currants, fresh blackberries and boysenberries, plus nuances of wild sage, cloves and cedar with a waft of lavender. The medium to full-bodied palate surprises and delights with an unexpected richness and depth that remains locked away on the nose, revealing layers of fragrant earth and floral notions framed by fantastic freshness and firm, finely grained tannins, finishing with the most gorgeous, long-lingering perfume." Lisa Perotti-Brown, The Wine Advocate(5/2021), Rating: 95-97+ Drink: 2026-2053
"Concentrated ruby red colour, a little subdued on the nose, built with structure and power, concentrated and should age well. Classical, powerful, not exuberant, an impressive Chevalier that has tannins and fruit and freshness, nothing shouting too loud. As it opens, you see a peony floral edge that is very attractive. Easily among the best in Pessac. A yield of 38hl/ha." Jane Anson, Decanter, Rating: 95 Drink: 2027-2042
"From an estate that’s been on fire over the past decade, the 2020 Domaine De Chevalier is another brilliant wine in the making and checks in as 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 27% Merlot, 5% Petit Verdot, and 3% Cabernet Franc. Offering impressive cassis and darker berry fruits, it has complex notes of crushed flowers, violets, and damp earth-like nuances. Medium to full-bodied on the palate, with ultra-fine tannins and a silky, layered, seamless texture, it shines for both its richness and its balance. It also shuts down quite quickly, so if you’re going to drink bottles, try one in its youth. Otherwise, be sure to give bottles 7-8 years in a cold cellar. It should have 30-40 years of overall longevity." Jeb Dunnuck, Bordeaux 2020 En Primeur - Part 1, (05/23/2021) Rating: 95-97+
"The 2020 Domaine de Chevalier is going to need a number of years to unwind. Rich, heady and super-concentrated, the 2020 is so impressive, right out of the gate. Crushed rocks, rose petal, cedar, pomegranate and mint all build as the 2020 shows off its vibrant, layered personality. Domaine de Chevalier remains one of the most under the radar wines in all of Bordeaux. The 2020 is an absolutely brilliant effort from Olivier Bernard and his team. Tasted two times." Antonio Galloni, Vinous, Rating: 95-97 Drink: 2035-2055
|Brand||Domaine de Chevalier|