The brilliant St.-Emilion-based consultant, Stephane Derenoncourt, is working his magic at this great vineyard in Leognan. The 2006, a blend of 63% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, and the rest Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc, is a revelation of sweet, lush, black raspberry and black currant fruit intermixed with subtle notes of scorched earth and barbecue spices. Round, luscious, sexy, and exceptionally complex, the wine is dominated by that smoky minerality that comes from this area. It is the quintessentially elegant yet substantial Pessac-Leognan with class, complexity, and potential. Despite wanting to drink most of the bottle when I was tasting it, I know it will be even better with 2-4 years of bottle age, and should keep for two decades.
The 2006 Domaine de Chevalier has smudged red plum, bergamot and stewed black tea scents on the nose - quite fragrant if just missing some delineation. The palate is medium-bodied with taut, quite firm tannin. Dark and broody, this is a surprisingly introspective Domaine de Chevalier with a grippy, quite assertive finish. This is a satisfying wine from Olivier Bernard, though at the moment you get the feeling that somebody has said something to this 2006 that has put it into a bad mood. I find there is more finesse on other recent vintages, but you never know with Domaine de Chevalier because at any given moment it can blossom.
Another wine from this estate that's in harmony and balanced, especially for the vintage, with lots of currant and raspberry character and just a hint of dark chocolate. Full, medium tannins and a fresh finish. All together.
Sweet oaky notes weigh the nose of this wine down. A little angular but very fresh. Definitely not a heavyweight but sweet and racy and quite sinewy. Longer term than most red Graves but very dry tannins on the finish. Very angular for the moment - made ambitiously with no holds barred for the very long term.
Bright ruby-red. Black fruits, licorice, tobacco and cedary oak on the nose. Dense and fine-grained, with a distinctly cool quality to the black fruit and floral flavors. Pliant in the middle palate but with cedar, floral and herbal notes providing very good lift. This rich, chewy wine boasts lovely depth of flavor and finishes with sweet tannins and noteworthy energy.
Major progress is being made at Domaine de Chevalier as the wines are revealing less overt oak as well as better integration of all the wines’ structural components. The 2006 possesses a savory, subtle nose of lead pencil shavings, sweet black cherries, currants, and earth. Pure, medium-bodied, and elegant with supple tannin, and substantial flavor interest and length, it should drink beautifully in 3-4 years, and last for 15-20.
Tasted at a negotiant. Lucid ruby/purple hue. An intriguing nose, a lot of new oak at the moment. Perhaps lacking some delineation and vigour: tight and a little sullen. The palate is full-bodied, quite tannic but balanced with good fruit concentration. Blackberry, cassis, black olives. Rather linear at this stage, but there is an attractive grainy, Morello and crushed violet tinged finish. Needs time to show its true potential. Tasted April 2007.
Red-ruby. Cherry, coffee and menthol on the nose, with a slight cabernet leafiness. Tightly wound and firm; more classic but less sweet than the young 2007, with a peppery element and more obvious tannic spine showing today-or is there simply less buffering fruit? Vibrant and intense wine but a bit ungiving today.