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The winemaker’s role is to reflect the best the terroir has to offer and to reproduce the intrinsic taste parameters that correspond to Domaine de Chevalier.
Olivier Bernard describes Domaine de Chevalier’s white wines: “Our aim is not to make the wine as fruity as possible at all costs. Measured extraction and barrel ageing create very complex wines – beautifully fresh, never heavy, and with an incredibly long aftertaste that “unfolds like a peacock’s tail”... We target the long term and make a great wine that needs time to reveal its full potential.”
Thomas Stonestreet confirms that “Domaine de Chevalier blanc is an incredibly complex wine, that can age for many years ... It features much more than just fruitiness. It also very velvety, rich, and concentrated...”
Rémi Edange has much to say about the wine’s bouquet: “An incredibly complex nose... Above and beyond the varietal aromas there are empyreumatic overtones of resin, smoke, liquorice, coffee, and even, in certain vintages, cedar and Havana cigars... With regard to the fruit, Domaine de Chevalier often shows quince as well as peach, apricot, pineapple, tropical fruit (lychees), and citrus. In older vintages, the bouquet is reminiscent of a fine Sauternes. As if this were not enough, there are also floral overtones of vine flowers, herb teas (lime-blossom, verbena), etc...”
Olivier Bernard has this to say about his red wines: “Domaine de Chevalier rouge has good structure and a great deal of finesse, complexity, and ageing potential – which does not exclude a smooth, fruity quality that makes it enjoyable in its youth. Always balanced, never aggressive, power is by no means the priority...”
Rémi Edange adds: “Chevalier’s red wines are well-structured with round, very fine, tight-knit tannin... They are tremendously elegant and distinguished with a very long aftertaste and more delicacy than power...”
2003 will be remembered by wine professionals as the year of the heat wave, just as 1956 is remembered for its freezing cold winter and 1991 for its spring frost. 2003 will also go down in history as an early vintage with below average, or even very low yields at certain estates. Winemakers will recall the challenges they encountered: deciding on the best date to start picking, bringing the fermentation of very sweet must to successful completion, correcting acidity, and (for red wines) carefully overseeing maceration and malolactic fermentation.
The most important characteristic of the 2003 vintage is its precocity. Flowering and véraison (colour change) occurred about a week in advance of the average date for the past decade in our red wine reference vineyards. This precocity is even more marked when one compares the phenological stages in 2003 with the average dates in previous decades (Table I). Grapes have clearly been ripening earlier and earlier over the last twenty years, probably due to the effects of global warming.