Saturday, 2 May 2015

Exploring The Forgotten Side Of Bordeaux - Chapter I

When you´re gonna start, why not start at the top!
As Clive Coates writes - "one of the top dry white wines of Bordeaux: Laville from La Mission and Haut-Brion Blanc being the only rivals"

Known as Domaine the Cibaley when it appears on a map about 1775. By 1824 the named has shifted to Domaine de Chevalier. The estate, for unknown reasons, fell into oblivion and the vines was uprooted until 1860 when the Ricard family bought the land and planted vines again.
In 1948, Claude Ricard took over the estate and managed every vintage up to 1988, 40 years of wine making. Impressive!

The white Domaine de Chevalier is made from 70% Sauvignon Blanc and 30% Semillon, from 4 ha of land. It is fermented in oak barrels, old, not new ones. It is given about one and a half year in barrels before released. New oak is now about 50% but under Claude Ricards reign is was at most 30%.

Pamela Vandyke Price writes in her book Wines of the Graves (1988) about the white Domaine de Chevalier - "it is a wonder to those who are willing to let it talk to them"

I´m here - let us talk.

More info here.

1986 Domaine de Chevalier
The 29 year old Domaine de Chevalier is, sadly, a bit tired. The nose is big, broad and mature with notes of old erasers, dried peach, Christmas spices, old grass and almond paste. It is a touch overblown and wrinkled, but it has some charm never the less.
The taste is more vigorous and better well kept than the nose, with notes of dried apricots, eraser, nuts, grass and a touch of paint. Warm and long. Dry lavender honey in the finish. Very good. Rich.
86p   (tasted 2015/04)

1997 Domaine de Chevalier
The 1986 isn´t a slouch on its own but compared to the 1997 it doesn´t stand a chance. This stunner has a gorgeous, deep, interesting nose with notes of candied lemons, green olives, wet stones and lanolin. Deep and profound. Layers upon layers of sweet/sour yellow fruit. Stunning.
The taste is intense and concentrated with notes of apricots, plastics, grass and matchbox. The finish is over one minute long. Very complex with a lovely perfumed note. Structured and fine. Great wine. Some mature notes but this has a long way to go. This project starts out great!
95p   (tasted 2015/04)

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