This is one of my favourite Bordeaux Estates and Domaine de Chevalier Pessac-Leognan 2009 is a wine to be excited about. 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 the wine 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.
“In late 2011, I had the last bottle in my cellar of the 1970 Domaine de Chevalier. Much to my surprise, it was still holding on to life and remained gorgeously complex in that ethereal Graves style. The 2009, one of the finest Domaine de Chevaliers yet produced, reveals a striking bouquet of burning embers, sweet cherry, black and red currant fruit, spice box, cedar and lead pencil shavings. The tannins are sweet in this fleshy, full-bodied offering. It is built on the notion of extraordinary harmony, elegance and complexity. While not the most concentrated or flamboyant 2009, its intense aromas are already reasonably evolved and its lusciousness and balance are terrific. Made from an interesting blend of 64% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot and 6% Petit Verdot, its yields of 45 hectoliters per hectare were slightly higher than many of its neighbors achieved. Drink it over the next 25 years.” Score: 95 Robert Parker, Wine Advocate, March 2012
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 noble variety of Bordeaux’s left bank. Firm tannins, a streak of acidity and punctuated by flavours of cassis, violets, spice and leather. The best examples can age for the long term. Although Cabernet does often require blending with Merlot, Cabernet Franc or Shiraz to fix the hole it has in its middle palate.
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.
Having tasted a few vintages of Bordeaux in my time I have no doubt that this will be one of the best in the modern era. I feel that 2010 is on a par for different reasons and 2005 exceeds them both, but it is a small margin.