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Very floral and elegant with raspberry and blackcurrant fruit mixed with toasty oak/vanillin, followed by a medium to full-bodied, stylish, polished wine that is the quintessentially refined style of Pessac-Léognan. Nevertheless, the complexity and nuance has yet to fully emerge. This medium to full-bodied Domaine de Chevalier is poised for a bright future. It is tight and backward now, as well as restrained aromatically, but everything is there for the future. Forget it for 5-7 years and drink it over the following 30 years. Drink 2020-2050.
One of the stars of the vintage, it boasts a dense purple color as well as a big, sweet bouquet of red and black currants, graphite, subtle flowers and well-integrated, toasty oak. Impressively built rich and medium to full-bodied without losing the quintessential elegance and finesse for which this famous estate is renowned, the 2012 Domaine de Chevalier is filled with purity, equilibrium and balance. The tannins are sweet enough that this wine should be accessible when released, and will last for 15-20 years. Is this a modern day clone of their brilliant 1953 (which I drank from magnum at Bern's Steak House in November for less than $500!)?
I was joking with proprietor Olivier Bernard, who is now the president of the Union des Grands Crus, that his position seems to be accompanied by much higher scores from wine critics. Nevertheless, there is no question that Domaine de Chevalier has been on a relatively hot streak lately, and this 2012 is a beauty.
Tasted from a barrel sample at en primeur. The Domaine de Chevalier has a lovely understated, very pure, quite feminine bouquet with seamlessly integrated oak that neatly encases the blackberry and blueberry fruit. There is a floral note that emerges with time. The palate is medium-bodied with very fine tannins. There is a real backbone to this Pessac-Leognan, although the structured is disguised behind layers of velvety tannins. Gorgeous - but it deserves several years in the cellar. Tasted April 2013.
Extremely complex with cinnamon, dried fruits and dried flowers. Full body, super-integrated tannins and a silky, polished finish. Very impressive. Better in 2018 but very beautiful already
This shows wonderful depth of fruit with blackberries, blueberry and spice. Minerals too. Full body, with beautiful and silky tannins and a long, long finish. Superb finish. Sensational for the vintage.
In a vintage in which so many wines are open and forward, Domaine de Chevalier's 2012 Rouge is anything but. As readers know, these wines are capable of aging for decades. The 2012 will certainly need at least a few years in bottle to blossom. With time in the glass, scents of chalk, game, smoke, incense and red cherry jam begin to appear, followed by a hint of white pepper that adds aromatic lift. This is a gorgeous wine from Domaine de Chevalier and proprietor Olivier Bernard, but readers should not be in a hurry. The blend is 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot and 5% Petit Verdot. Stéphane Derenoncourt is the consultant. Drink 2022-2042.
Glowing dark crimson. The most complex nose of all 2012 Pessacs, with the exception of the Haut-Brion stable. Pretty muscular and a little obviously chewy on the end for the moment but confidently presenting a wine whose charms do not depend on ripeness but on terroir. Appetising. Drink 2020 to 2035. 16.5++ points.
Deep purple colour. Blackcurrant, black cherry and cocoa on the nose. The palate is dark and brooding, with a dense core of black fruit layered by sweet spice and smoke. There is good grip from the ripe tannins, this wine will need a few years in bottle to come round, but there is real intensity and power to the fruit core. There is a long and spicy finish, hinting at great things to come.
This much respected property in Léognan is run with great care by Olivier Bernard whose family took it over from Claude Ricard in 1983. During the 1980s and 1990s there was a massive programme of replanting and it is only in the last few years, with the vines reaching maturity, that the quality here has returned to that of the great vintages of the 1960s and before. Without doubt, the best vintages of Chevalier are the most recent ones. Domaine de Chevalier performed an amazing treble at our annual Southwold blind tasting, winning the Graves flight in 2003, 2004 and 2005. Prices, however, have remained reasonable. Monsieur Bernard has recently engaged the talented winemaker Stéphane Derenoncourt (of La Mondotte, Canon la Gaffelière and Pavie Macquin fame) and the wine has benefited greatly from his input. Not only is Domaine de Chevalier the best value wine in Pessac-Léognan these days, it is now becoming one of the best of all. A property on the rise - one to watch. An intense, purple colour. Black fruit on the nose with hints of pepper, vanilla and wood smoke. Wonderful complexity on the palate. The ripe (but unforced) fruit is complemented by notes of vanilla, tar and spice. This is a finely balanced wine with silky roundness, finesse, suppleness and no hint of over extraction despite the impressive depth. Clearly super-second quality.
The nose is rich deep with a mix of ripe black fruits and fresher red. The palate is the same with the rich flavours underpinned by freshness all supported by firm but ripe tannins. The lighter feel on the back palate gives way to richness on the finish. 2018-35.
Further proof that the top Pessac-Léognan reds were a step up on the 2011s and not far
behind the quality of the 2010s, this is a very elegant, patrician wine, described as "frockcoated"
by one colleague. Spice, tobacco and freshness with plenty of oak, good cassisdominated
fruit and a savoury reticence.