Domaine de Chevalier Blanc 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.
"The 2020 Domaine de Chevalier Blanc bursts with notions of ripe yellow apples, juicy pears and lime blossoms, plus hints of blanched almonds, yuzu zest and wet pebbles. The medium to full-bodied palate delivers impactful apple and citrus flavors with a racy backbone and seductive oiliness to the texture, finishing long and minerally." Lisa-Perotti Brown, May 2021 Week 3: The Wine Advocate Rating: 94-96 Drink: 20225 - 2038
"The 2020 Domaine de Chevalier Blanc is fabulous. Bright and airy in the glass, the 2020 bristles with energy. Lemon confit, crushed rocks, mint and white pepper all pulse with tons of vibrancy. This finely-cut, chiseled white is going to need a number of years to be at its best, but it is so impressive and so full of potential. Bright saline notes punctuate the dazzling finish. Time in the glass brings out the wine's texture and layers. The Blanc is one of the world's great wines, hands down." Antonio Galloni, Vinous, June 2021 Rating: 94-96
"An excellent white with precision, flesh and confidence, sure to age well. A ton of white pear and some soft pepper spice keeps up the pace and lift from beginning to end, and the intensity continues to build after the wine has left the palate - a sure sign of something special happening. A yield of 43hl/ha. Tasted twice. Unusual for me to score the red and white Chevalier at the same level, but both are extremely successful in this vintage. " Jane Anson, Decanter, Best White Bordeaux 2020: Wines Tasted En Primeur Rating: 95 Drink: 2022-2032
|Brand||Domaine de Chevalier|