Domaine de Chevalier Pessac-Leognan is one of my favourite Bordeaux Estates. The wines are lean, elegant, understated and perfectly balanced. I have never had a bad bottle: young or old. I’ve found in great years Domaine De Chevalier Pessac-Leognan is great, in tough years the wine exceeds expectations and is a bargain. The Domaine (not Chateau!) is 80 hectare split up as 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot and 2.5% each of Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot.
Domaine De Chevalier Pessac-Leognan Grand Cru Classe 2019 Notes
I buy Domaine de Chevalier Pessac-Leognan every year for my cellar. Every bottle I’ve ever had has been compelling drinking.
Tasted by Jane Anson(at Bordeaux, 30 May 2020)
A lovely Chevalier, with rich tannins, juicy cassis and bilberry fruit, sage and pepper spice and a slate finish. Similar in style to warm but well-built years like 2000. Not the power of 2016 but this is an excellent wine, with lots to enjoy. Harvest finished October 12. 2% Petit Verdot completes the blend.
Drinking Window 2027 – 2042
Situated near the Atlantic coast of France. The Gironde, Dordogne and Garonne rivers provide its shape. Cool conditions and frequent rainfall, including during harvest time, make Bordeaux quite a marginal region with vintages frequently ruined by rain or saved from the rain at the last-minute by timely sunshine.
The home of the original Claret that the English fell in love with. Graves gets its name from the large amounts of gravel in the vineyard which gives a lighter, more aromatic style of Bordeaux. Although it is on the Left Bank it more often lines up with the Right Bank on vintage preferences. Graves is capable and often excels at making white wines from Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon. They are often barrel-aged and live as long as any white in the world.
Part of the larger Graves appellation that is the home of the original Claret that the English feel in love with. Pessac hosts most of the big names in the Graves appellation and is allowed to be named as a separate appellation.
The main grape of Bordeaux’s left bank. Cabernet is late-ripening and full of acid and tannin. The great wines have structure but finessed with beautiful cassis, violets and it also transmits the flavours of the soil it is grown in really well. Cabernet isn’t a drink now variety, it needs 10 or more years to show its best. But when you get there, WOW! Often blended with Merlot, Cabernet Franc or in Australia Shiraz to fill out its mid-palate referred to as the ‘Cabernet doughnut’.
It gets a tough time most of the places it is grown. But in Pomerol and Saint-Emilion Merlot not only dominates but makes some of the best wines in the world. Perfume, silky and plush. Cabernets Franc and Sauvignon season the wines with structure and acid but in some places, like Petrus, they are almost not needed.
Is one of the parents of Cabernet Sauvignon… along with Sauvignon Blanc (oh! The name makes sense now!). It is most famous for being the third most important grape in quality Bordeaux. But also excels in the Loire Valley (where it lived before it went to Bordeaux), especially Chinon and Saumur. The wines are bright red, highlight aromatic with raspberries, rose petals, violets along with tobacco, cassis and some herbal elements. The best examples can live as long as any great wine.
Often the fifth wine on the depth chart of Bordeaux’s magical quintet. In the great years, it is an amazing variety to work with, but often in the great years, it is not needed. It can add body, structure and acidity but lacks some charm for a single variety wine. But in the hands of a skilful blender, it can lift a wine or in some cases, a particular site can make Petit Verdot sing a song like no other.
This year I got to taste the barrel samples for the first time. And while I don’t think 2019 is the vintage of the century. But is of outstanding quality. 2019 is up there with some of the best in the modern era. What’s more, this is the most affordable great vintage of Bordeaux we’ve seen in many, many years. And if you’ve been as lucky as I have and drunk a fair bit of mature Bordeaux, you will know that the great vintages, like 2019, are always a pleasure to drink.