Ripe, balanced and harmonious dark fruit nose. Very supple feel on the attack, rich velvet and firm-tannined weight. Some oak evident, but the underlying wine is a match for it. On one sample a tiny hint of jammy fruit, on another very juicy, ripe raspberry and blackberries, with a hint of sweetness but not tipping over into over-ripe at all. Fresh acidity on the finish - all very juicy. Drinking range: 2025 - 2040 Rating: 93-95 L&S (Apr 2017)
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As to the reds, the 2016 Domaine de Chevalier is a blend of 55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Merlot, and the balance Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc that saw an extended maceration, malo in barrel, and 18 months in just 35% new French oak. This deep purple-hued beauty boasts a powerful bouquet of tobacco smoke, damp earth, gravelly, rocky minerality, wood smoke, and loads of dark fruits. Full-bodied, deep, concentrated yet incredibly elegant and seamless on the palate, it’s a legendary Chevalier in the making. While I rated this as high as 99 points on one of the four separate occasions I was able to taste it, I’m being conservative with the score. it has some upfront charm but needs 4-5 years of cellaring and will keep for 3-4 decades. Drinking range: 2023 - 2063 Rating: 97 Jeb Dunnuck, www.jebdunnuck.com (Feb 2019)
The 2016 Domaine de Chevalier is a blend of 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot and 5% Petit Verdot picked between 4-21 October at 45 hectoliters per hectare, and matured in 35% new oak. Oh yes! This is a perfumed bouquet that unfolds beautifully in the glass with blackberry, cedar, smoke and a light marine influence, not unlike Japanese nori. The palate is medium-bodied with such fine tannins that it bought to mind Burgundy rather than Bordeaux. There is a grainy texture here, quite saline in the mouth with an entrancing sense of symmetry, very classic but not austere on the finish, with a long and saline aftertaste. This is an outstanding Domaine de Chevalier from the busiest man in Bordeaux, Oliver Bernard. Tasted twice with consistent notes. Drinking range: 2025 - 2060 Rating: 94-96 Neal Martin, www.vinous.com (Apr 2017)
Concentrated and luscious. Real life and savour on the (at the moment slightly inky) end. One of the most youthful samples I encountered. Dry sandpaper end but perhaps it's a more honest sample than most? Drinking range: 2028 - 2048 Rating: 17+ Jancis Robinson OBE MW - www.JancisRobinson.com (Apr 2017)
Domaine de Chevalier
Domaine de Chevalier, located in Léognan and surrounded by forest, enjoys a particular microclimate. Unlike some of the Pessacs which are surrounded by urban development which raises the average temperature, Chevalier is quite a cool terroir.
Olivier Bernard has owned and run the estate since 1983, and has done much to improve the quality of the wines. The white has always been one of Bordeaux's finest, and is even better now, and Bernard has dramatically increased the quality of the red, especially in the last ten years.
Domaine de Chevalier has a soil of dark sand and fine white gravel. It is planted at 10,000 vines per hectare averaging 35 years old.
There are 7 Hectares planted for white with 70% Sauvignon and 30% Sémillon.
There are 60 Hectares planted for red, comprising 63% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 5% Petit Verdot, 2% Cabernet Franc.
At the harvest the white grapes are picked in baskets with successive picking through the vines.
The red grapes are also picked in baskets, with triple sorting: first in the vines, then the complete bunch on the sorting table and third by optical sorting machine, berry by berry.
The white is pressed slowly, and settlement (débourbage) and alcoholic fermentation occur in the barrel, with 35% new wood. The wine is aged on the lees in barrel with stirring (batonnage), for 18 months.
The red grapes are vatted by gravity without pumping. The alcoholic fermentation in stainless steel and coated steel temperature-controlled vats. Maceration for 2 to 3 weeks with a maximum fermentation temperature of 30° C and manual pigeage. The wine is aged for 18 months (four months on the lees), with 35% new wood.
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