Thursday, October 6, 2016
Tour and Tasting from Barrel at Domaine de Chevalier, Graves, Appellation Pessac-Léognan, Grand Cru Classé, with Owner Adrien Bernard - Bordeaux Tour by ombiasy WineTours 2016, France
Led by Annette Schiller, the Bordeaux Tour 2016 by ombiasy WineTours took place from September 6 to 15, 2016. The group comprised 14 wine lovers from the United States and Switzerland, including Annette and Christian Schiller. I already provided an overview of the tour. See the list of postings at the end of the article. This posting focuses on our first winery visit, Domaine de Chevalier.
See: Bordeaux Tour by ombiasy WineTours 2016, France
Adrien Bernard, son of current Director and Owner Olivier Bernard, and future Director and Owner of Domaine de Chevalier, was our host. Olivier Bernard is currently President of the “Union des Grand Crus de Bordeaux”, the association of 133 grands crus estates in the Bordeaux region,
The tour started in the vineyard. We talked a lot about the 2016 vintage. We then moved to the modern production facility, where we tasted the new vintage from barrel, both red and white. The lovely tour ended with a final tasting from bottle in the tasting room of Domaine de Chevalier.
Domaine de Chevalier
Domaine de Chevalier is located south of the City of Bordeaux in the commune of Léognan, the capital of the Graves region.
Domaine de Chevalier is classified as a Graves Cru Classé. Domaine de Chevalier is one of the few Graves estates to produce both first class reds and whites.
Viticulture of significance at Domaine de Chevalier was begun during the 19th century when it was owned and run by Arnaud Ricard, also the proprietor of Château Malartic-Lagravière.
Director Adjoint Rémi Edange was our host. Director and Owner Olivier Bernard, who is currently President of the “Union des Grand Crus de Bordeaux”, the association of 133 grands crus estates in the Bordeaux region, joined us on the tour.
See: Tour and Wine Dinner at Domaine de Chevalier with Director Adjoint Rémi Edange and Owner/Director Olivier Bernard – Bordeaux Tour by ombiasy WineTours (2015), France
In 1983 Domaine de Chevalier was bought by the Bernard family, producers of Cognac and major Bordeaux wine merchants. Managed by Claude Ricard since 1948, he stayed on as advisor for several years. It was during the tenure of Claude Ricard, that Domaine de Chevalier was included in the 1959 Graves Classification.
From a property of 80 hectares, the vineyard area consists of 35 hectares of red grape varieties: 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 2.5% Cabernet Franc, and 2.5% Petit Verdot; and 4.5 hectares of white grape varieties: 70% Sauvignon blanc and 30% Sémillon. Since the Bernard family has taken over, the vineyard size has almost doubled.
The Grand Vin, Domaine de Chevalier, is annually produced in 7,000 cases of the red wine and 1,200 cases of the dry white. The red and white second wines, L'Esprit de Chevalier, has a production of 5,800 and 800 cases, respectively. There is also a third wine, Pessac Leognan.
See: Union des Grands Crus de Bordeaux (UGC) on the 2016 North America Tour - Schiller’s Favorites
The first grapes were planted by a man who was a chivaley, the old Gascon word for knight. Later the modern French word “Chevalier” was used for the estate, the old name “Domaine” instead of the word “Chateau” to describe a wine making estate has never been abandoned. It is one of a very few Bordeaux estates to be named Domaine instead of Château.
The charming Adrien Bernard was our host. He is one of the two sons of Director and Owner Olivier Bernard. After spending several years in Asia in the wine trade, he recently returned home to get ready for an eventual take-over of the estate (along with his brother). Adrien is likely to focus on the marketing side, while his younger brother Hugo is slated to take the lead on the wine production side.
In the Vineyard
Cellar Tour with Tasting from Barrel
We spent some time in the wine cellar with Adrien Bernard.
As for the white wine, the grapes are put into a pneumatic winepress where they are softly pressed. The must is run off into barrel in a refrigerated room. The must is decanted from its lees by gravity flow after approximately 24 hours. The barrels are then taken into the fermentation area. After long experimentation, we now use about 30% new oak. The final blend is done on the early side, in January after the vintage. Regular bâtonnage strengthens the wine’s structure and makes it more refined. Ageing takes place on the lees until the end of the first summer after the vintage. The wine then spends a second winter in barrel, after which it is naturally clarified – in fact, so much so that when it is bottled the following spring, only very slight filtration is necessary.
As for the red wine, fermentation is preceded by maceration lasting 4-6 days which highlights the wine’s fruit. A close watch is kept on fermentation temperatures, which can rise to 30-32° C towards the end. The wine is regularly pumped over and sometimes accompanied by pigeage (punching down the cap). The wine stays on the skins for 15-25 days. As the wine finishes its maceration, the temperature is gradually lowered to 20/22°C and then run off into new oak barrels for malolactic fermentation. The final blending of red wine takes place in January.
The red wine ages entirely in barrel. This lasts 14-24 months for the grand vin. The proportion of new oak varies from 40 to 60% depending on the vintage. Racking is done by gravity flow from barrel to barrel and the wine is bottled in late June.
The second wine, Esprit de Chevalier ages for less time (approximately 12 months) in barrels that have already been used for two years. The third wine ages for around10 months in 2-4 year-old barrels.
Tasting from Bottle
We ended the visit with a tasting from bottle.
Wine Searcher Average Prices
Wine Searcher Average Prices: White Bordeaux Wine of Domaine de Chevalier (in US$)
Wine Searcher Average Prices: Red Bordeaux Wine of Domaine de Chevalier (in US$)
Thanks Adrien for a great tour and tasting.
Postings on the Bordeaux Tour by ombiasy WineTours 2016, France (Posted and Forthcoming)
Bordeaux Tour by ombiasy WineTours 2016, France
Bordeaux Tour by ombiasy WineTours (2015), France
Bordeaux Wine Tour 2013 by ombiasy
Bordeaux Wines and their Classifications: The Basics
Bordeaux - En Primeur, Negociants, Courtiers, the Quai de Chartons and the Place de Bordeaux – A Short Introduction
How Does the Negociant System in Bordeaux Work? Tour and Tasting at Millésima - Bordeaux Tour by ombiasy WineTours 2016, France
Tour and Tasting at Domaine de Chevalier, Graves
Dinner with a View: At Restaurant L’Estacade in Bordeaux City
Schiller's Favorite Wine Bars in Bordeaux City, France
Schiller's Favorite Seafood Places in Bordeaux City, France
Saint Emilion Wines and their Classification, Bordeaux, France
Schiller’s Favorite Wine Bars in St. Emilion, France
The Wine Empire of the von Neipperg Family in France, Bulgaria and Germany
Tour and Tasting at Château Canon La Gaffelière, Saint-Emilion, Premier Grand Cru Classé
Tour and Wine Lunch at Château Beauséjour, Puisseguin Saint-Emilion, with Owner and Winemaker Gérard Dupuy
Tour and Tasting at Château de Figeac, Saint-Emilion, Premier Grand Cru Classé
Tour and Tasting at Château Beauregard, Pomerol
Tour at Château Le Bon Pasteur, Pomerol, with Dany Rolland
Wine Lunch at Château Le Bon Pasteur, Pomerol, with Dany Rolland
Tasting were it all Started: At the "Garage" of Jean-Luc Thunevin, Owner and Winermaker of Château Valandraud, Premier Grand Cru Classé since 2012
Tour and Tasting at Château de Fargues, Sauternes, with Prince Eudes d’Orléans
Wine Pairing Lunch at the 1-star Michelin Restaurant Claude Darozze, with Marie-Hélène Lévêque, Owner of Châteaux Chantegrive
Tour of Château de Chantegrive, Appellation Grave
Tour and Tasting at Château Smith-Haut-Lafitte, Pessac-Léognan, Grand Cru Classé.
Wine Pairing Lunch at the 2-star Michelin Restaurant La Grande Vigne (at Château Smith-Haut-Lafitte)
Tour of the new Musee du Vin in Bordeaux City
Seafood lunch at Pinasse Cafe in Cap Ferret
Tour of the Earl Ostrea Chanca Oyster Farm and Oyster Tasting in Grand-Piquey, with Oyster Farmer Ralph Doerfler
The 5 Premiers Grands Crus Chateaux en 1855 of Bordeaux, France
What is a Bordeaux Cru Bourgeois? France
Tourt and tasting at Château Palmer, Margaux, 3ième Grand Cru Classé
Tour and Tasting at Château Pichon-Longueville-Baron, Pauillac, 2ième Grand Cru Classé
Wine Lunch at Château Pichon-Longueville-Baron, Pauillac, 2ième Grand Cru Classé
Tour and Tasting at Château Lafon-Rochet, Saint-Estèphe, 4ième Grand Cru Classé, with Owner Michel Tesseron
At the Invitation of Owner Michel Tesseron: Private Dinner at Château Lafon-Rochet, Saint-Estèphe, 4ième Grand Cru Classé
Tour and Tasting at Château Sociando Mallet, Appellation Haut-Médoc
How a Barrel is Made: Visit of the Cooperage Berger & Fils in Vertheuil
Lunch were the Locals eat: At Le Peyrat in Saint-Estèphe in Saint Estephe
Tour and Tasting at Château Léoville Poyferré, Saint-Julien, 2ième Grand Cru Classé, with Anne Cuvelier
Tour and Tasting at Château Margaux, Appellation Margaux, 1ière Grand Cru Classé
Tour and Tasting at Château Kirwan, Appellation Margaux, 3ième Grand Cru Classé, with Owner Nathalie Schyler
Picnic Lunch at Château Kirwan, Appellation Margaux, 3ième Grand Cru Classé, with Owner Nathalie Schyler
Tour and Wine Dinner at Château Haut-Bailly, Graves, Appellation Pessac-Léognan, Grand Cru Classé, with Daina Paulin