Although Pessac-Léognan is the youngest appellation in Bordeaux (1987), it is paradoxically the cradle of winegrowing in the Gironde department. From the time they were first planted to the present day, i.e. for some 21 centuries, the vineyards of Pessac-Léognan have contributed to the prestige and development of Bordeaux wine. Domaine de Chevalier is a very ancient estate, located in Léognan, the capital of the Graves region. It was designated as “Chibaley“ (the Gascon word for chevalier) on the 1783 map produced by the royal engineer Pierre de Belleyme. The fact that Chevalier has never abandoned the name of “domaine“ in favour of the more recent appellation “château“, is proof of the estate’s long history. In 1983, Domaine de Chevalier was acquired by the Bernard family (leading French producers of wine spirits and Bordeaux wine merchants). Since then, the estate has been managed by Olivier Bernard, who perpetuates the spirit of harmony and quest for perfection that has long characterised this superb wine. Domaine de Chevalier red wine is one of the jewels in the Pessac-Léognan appellation, belonging to the prestigious Bordeaux great growths. Domaine de Chevalier white wine is renowned for being one of the greatest dry whites in the world.
The 2008 Domaine de Chevalier is a vintage that I have tasted several times. Now at a decade old, it has retained a surprisingly deep colour. The bouquet is divine: pure blackberry and pomegranate aromas, cedar and cigar box, its floral element seeming to have receded in recent years. The palate is medium-bodied and appears to have softened since I last tasted it, the tannins now more melted (though not fully), delivering a mixture of red and black fruit tinged with burnt toast, tobacco and a touch of sous-bois and smoke towards the cohesive finish. You could begin opening bottles now although knowing the track record of this estate, I would leave them for another few years.