2006 Domaine de Chevalier, Pessac-Léognan, Bordeaux
Deep almost blackish crimson. Intriguing – almost peppery nose. Real interest here. Round and ambitious, not specious sweetness. This is made to drink not taste and for the medium to long term. A real tingle of interest. Snappy Graves character – very refreshing rather than uncomfortably tart.
Jancis Robinson MW, jancisrobinson.com (October 2007)
There's attractive blackberry and light vanilla, with a hint of licorice. Full-bodied, with a caressing texture, very pretty fruit and notes of chocolate and licorice.
Drink after 2014
James Suckling, jamessuckling.com (March 2009)
The brilliant St.-Emilion-based consultant, Stephane Derenoncourt, is working his magic at this great vineyard in Leognan. The 2006.. is a revelation of sweet, lush, black raspberry and black currant fruit intermixed with subtle notes of scorched earth and barbecue spices. Round, luscious, sexy, and exceptionally complex, the wine is dominated by that smoky minerality that comes from this area.
It is the quintessentially elegant yet substantial Pessac-Leognan with class, complexity, and potential. Despite wanting to drink most of the bottle when I was tasting it, I know it will be even better with 2-4 years of bottle age, and should keep for two decades.
Robert Parker, Wine Advocate (February 2009)
Tasted at Bordeaux Index's annual 10-Year On tasting in London.The 2006 Domaine de Chevalier has smudged red plum, bergamot and stewed black tea scents on the nose - quite fragrant if just missing some delineation. The palate is medium-bodied with taut, quite firm tannin. Dark and broody, this is a surprisingly introspective Domaine de Chevalier with a grippy, quite assertive finish.
This is a satisfying wine from Olivier Bernard, though at the moment you get the feeling that somebody has said something to this 2006 that has put it into a bad mood. I find there is more finesse on other recent vintage,s but you never know with Domaine de Chevalier because at any given moment it can blossom. Tasted January 2016.
Neal Martin, Vinous.com (May 2016)
About this WINE
Domaine de Chevalier
Domaine de Chevalier is one of the few Graves estates to produce both first class reds and whites. The property was purchased by the Ricard family in 1865 and remained in their hands until it was bought by the Bernard distilling company in 1983. Domaine De Chevalier has 35 hectares of vines and red wine accounts for 80% of the production. Made from a blend of 55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot, and 5% Cabernet Franc, the wine is fermented in temperature-controlled, stainless steel vats and then matured in oak barriques (50% new) for 18 months.
Domaine de Chevalier is fortunate to have such a fine team to run its affairs. Olivier, whose family business owns the estate, is the outgoing but canny administrator whilst Rémi Edange is hands-on, knowing every vine and every barrel. Whilst their white wines have always been amongst the very finest, the reds were simpler affairs. But from the 1995 vintage onwards greater flair and concentration was in evidence. The quality curve is now further accentuated by the team's bold move to appoint Stéphane Derenoncourt, of La Mondotte fame, as consultant winemaker. Domaine De Chevalier is classified as a Graves Cru Classé.
In 1986 a new communal district was created within Graves, in Bordeaux, based on the districts of Pessac and Léognan, the first of which lies within the suburbs of the city. Essentially this came about through pressure from Pessac-Léognan vignerons, who wished to disassociate themselves from growers with predominately sandy soils further south in Graves.
Pessac-Léognan has the best soils of the region, very similar to those of the Médoc, although the depth of gravel is more variable, and contains all the classed growths of the region. Some of its great names, including Ch. Haut-Brion, even sit serenely and resolutely in Bordeaux's southern urban sprawl.
The climate is milder than to the north of the city and the harvest can occur up to two weeks earlier. This gives the best wines a heady, rich and almost savoury character, laced with notes of tobacco, spice and leather. Further south, the soil is sandier with more clay, and the wines are lighter, fruity and suitable for earlier drinking.
Recommended Châteaux: Ch. Haut-Brion, Ch. la Mission Haut-Brion, Ch. Pape Clément, Ch Haut-Bailly, Domaine de Chevalier, Ch. Larrivet-Haut-Brion, Ch. Carmes Haut-Brion, Ch. La Garde, Villa Bel-Air.
Cabernet Sauvignon lends itself particularly well in blends with Merlot. This is actually the archetypal Bordeaux blend, though in different proportions in the sub-regions and sometimes topped up with Cabernet Franc, Malbec, and Petit Verdot.
In the Médoc and Graves the percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon in the blend can range from 95% (Mouton-Rothschild) to as low as 40%. It is particularly suited to the dry, warm, free- draining, gravel-rich soils and is responsible for the redolent cassis characteristics as well as the depth of colour, tannic structure and pronounced acidity of Médoc wines. However 100% Cabernet Sauvignon wines can be slightly hollow-tasting in the middle palate and Merlot with its generous, fleshy fruit flavours acts as a perfect foil by filling in this cavity.
In St-Emilion and Pomerol, the blends are Merlot dominated as Cabernet Sauvignon can struggle to ripen there - when it is included, it adds structure and body to the wine. Sassicaia is the most famous Bordeaux blend in Italy and has spawned many imitations, whereby the blend is now firmly established in the New World and particularly in California and Australia.
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2006 is a much underrated vintage and as is so often the case, a so-called classic vintage proves its merit after a decade or so in bottle. Domaine de Chevalier is just such a case in point and whilst it’s starting to drink beautifully now, it will continue to mature and develop over the next decade and beyond.
Fergus Stewart, Private Client Manager, Berry Bros. & Rudd (March 2015)
Owner Olivier Bernard's attitude to nature and wine, working the soil naturallyand respecting the terroir and the style of the vintage, makes him a Burgundian at heart according to Jasper Morris MW, which is praise indeed. 2006 was aCabernet vintage in Pessac, according to Olivier, and the extra Cabernet in hisblend (67% CS and 4% CF) has made his 2006 more structured than usual.
It has an exotic, creamy blackberry nose, a wonderful harmony and structure, and alovely concentration of pure, minerally cassis fruit with coffee hints. This isanother tour de force of outstanding quality.
Simon Staples, Fine Wine Director, Berry Bros. & Rudd (June 2007)
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