Domaine de Chevalier
Located in a clearing in the middle of a Graves (Bordeaux) forest, Domaine de Chevalier leverages the towering trees to protect the vines from extremes of temperature. It feels like a secret garden, and produces wines that are equally as magical.
Domaine de Chevalier is known for both Red and White Bordeaux and for some of the finest winemaking in the region. For their white wines, every aspect of winemaking takes place in barrels. After a slow and gentle pneumatic press, the runoff goes directly into barrels in refrigerated rooms for racking and then fermentation. After many years of experimentation, the winemaking team has noticed that the final blend is always better than any individual barrel – “the whole is definitely greater than the sum of its parts.” And finding that final blend always calls upon their best experts on staff. They aim for ideal richness and silkiness, and using regular bâtonnage helps Domaine de Chevalier achieve this.
Once the white wines have been fully harvested, Domaine de Chevalier starts harvesting and winemaking of the red wines. Triple sorting is key to their quality, as is their goal to keep the skins as whole as possible after pressing. Using gravity flow to fill the stainless steel vats, the wine is not disturbed like it is with pumping. Maceration follows 4-6 days of fermentation with pigeage, and after maceration the wine runoff flows into new oak barrels for malolactic fermentation. Blending is done to highlight the terroir, as well as the complexity, finesse, and elegance. The duration and percentage of new oak for aging depends on the class of wine – grand vin for 14-24 months and 40-60% new oak, Esprit de Chevalier for 12 months with 2-year-old oak barrels, and their third wine for 10 months in 2-4 year-old barrels.
There are also a few labels that fall within the Domaine de Chevalier family, which allow them to call upon other geographic areas with the same or similar winemaking techniques and values. So, if you are a fan of Domaine de Chevaliers you will certainly love these other offerings. Starting in the 1990’s, Domaine de Chevalier began expanding their breadth. First, as tenant farmer and winemaker at Domaine de la Solitude (Pessac-Léognan), then as manager and wine producer at Château Lespault-Martillac, then as shareholder in Château Guiraud, and, finally, as owner of Clos des Lunes that has terroir shared with the finest great growths of Sauternes.