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The Story

Area of production: 5 ha

Average production: 18.000 bottles

Age of vines: ~35 years

Olivier Bernard's extensive project at Domaine de Chevalier has really come to fruition. After a bold and not to mention expensive re-planting program throughout the `80s and then a decade and a half of patience for the vines to gain maturity, we can really see the benefits. 2005, 2008, 2009 and now 2010 rank amongst the very best wines produced in this sprawling commune. Powerful but graceful, true to their terroir, and just so enjoyable to drink; this has become one of our 'must buy' estates. Olivier's wines offer 'super second' class at relatively affordable prices.


Wine Information

2005 will be remembered as an extremely high-quality vintage in Bordeaux. The weather was exceptionally dry from winter on through to a fine spring, a hot, sunny summer (without excessive heat), and into autumn.
Starting in early June, a water deficit contributed to restricting vegetative growth of the vines, thus avoiding excessive transpiration from the leaves. As a result, the vines made economical use of water in the soil and, with a few exceptions, resisted the drought reasonably well.
Furthermore, this summer water deficit stopped vine growth a few days before colour change in most of the Bordeaux vineyards. 2005 provides a perfect illustration of the basic principle of quality viticulture: the grapes are good if the vines stop their annual vegetative growth naturally and permanently just before colour change, i.e. around late July in Bordeaux. On vineyard soils in Bordeaux, this growth stops naturally just as the grapes start ripening in relatively dry summers. However, when spring and summer are wet, the vines continue to produce new shoots throughout the ripening season, wasting the nutrition produced by photosynthesis. This means that the grapes remain acid, with low sugar levels, little colouring matter, and a more herbaceous than fruity character. In such instances, only the driest soils avoid producing a poor vintage.
In 2005, the grapes ripened quite early in all Bordeaux appellations. The dry, sunny weather in September and October precluded any risk of grey rot, so there was no need to hurry picking. The grapes were very sweet, with good acidity, fruity aromas, and, in the case of red grape varieties, particularly deep colour.
This vintage was unusually successful for all grape varieties on both the left and right banks. Furthermore, the white wines were just as excellent. In Bordeaux, it is relatively unusual to have a vintage that is equally good for dry white, red, and great sweet white wines. After very hot summers, the red wines are good, but the dry white wines often lack fruit and freshness, while an excessively dry or damp early autumn is not propitious for botrytised wines. In 2005, the weather was favourable to all three main types of Bordeaux wine.
Yields were unusually high in 2004. Production was much more moderate in 2005. The early water deficit resulted in very small grapes, particularly in Cabernet Sauvignon on gravelly soils. Although the Sauvignon Blanc vines remained very healthy, yields were much lower than average. However, Sémillon production was much less affected by the weather than other grape varieties (which explains the unusually plentiful harvest in Sauternes and Barsac).
Budbreak took place at the normal time, in early April, after a dry, rather cold winter.


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Written Notes

Tasted five times - last time in March 2015. Consistent notes. Extremely aromatic and full-bodied with acacia, apple and citrus in large quantities, incredibly refined and sophisticated, multi-dimensional and fabulously structured, and extra large long on the palate. Exceptional wine. Rather closed in March 2015. 95p.
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Bordeaux, Pessac Leognan

Other wines from this producer

Bordeaux Rosé de Chevalier

Domaine de Chevalier

L'Esprit de Chevalier

L'Esprit de Chevalier Rouge


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