Last night an evening featuring Domaine de Chevalier presented by local wine brokerage and cellaring firm Wine Cellar with some of the Bernard family who own this top Graves property in attendance. Domaine de Chevalier is famed for its white blend and yet these varieties make up only 5ha of the 50ha under vineyard, 80% being Sauvignon Blanc and 20% Semillon. As for the remaining 45ha, Cabernet Sauvignon predominates at 60% followed by Merlot at 30% and the remaining 10% including Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot.
Before dinner, the 2003, 2005 and 2009 of the white and the 2000, 2002 and 2009 of the red. Asked for his thoughts on the 2005 versus the 2009 white, Hugo Bernard says “Two very different wines. The 2009 is very precise with a pH of 3.12 while the 2005 is 3.21.” Only in France.
As for the reds, interesting to note that high-profile consultant Stéphane Derenoncourt services have been retained since 2004. The biggest change since he became involved? “Picking riper.”
Scores and tasting notes as follows:
Domaine de Chevalier Blanc
Wine Cellar price: R1 050
A hot vintage and the wine shows very ripe fruit but remains delicious. Tangerine and green melon flavours. Breadth and depth, well integrated acidity. Drinking well now.
Wine Cellar price: R1 175
Vanilla and oak spice on the nose (the wine typically matured in barrel for 18 months, 30% new). Also tangerine, some heady floral perfume and a leesy note. Powerful yet balanced. Very concentrated but also bright acidity.
Wine Cellar price: R1 125
White flower, lime and a hint of vanilla on the nose. The palate shows great fruit purity but also wonderfully sensitive winemaking and there’s great complexity here, each sip revealing different nuances but won’t bore you with too many descriptors.
Domaine de Chevalier Rouge
Wine Cellar price: R995
Red and black fruit, some evolution, some Bordeaux “funkiness”. Medium bodied with fresh acidity and tannins still relatively firm.
Wine Cellar price: R675
Red fruit and some spice. Medium bodied with moderate acidity. Pleasant but unremarkable – drink now.
Wine Cellar price: R900
Ripe black fruit, toasty oak and very little of the savouriness which characterised the older vintages. Rich and full, fresh acidity, firm but fine tannins – very polished and difficult to discern as being specifically Bordeaux.
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