One of the very few Bordeaux estates called domaine versus château, Domaine de Chevalier carries the Pessac-Léognan appellation, with its winery and vineyards based just south of the city of Bordeaux. Ranked among the Grand Crus Classés for red and white wine in the Classification of Graves wine of 1953 and 1959, its eponymous red reaches production numbers of 7,000 cases annually, while the white reaches just over 1,000. The red and white second wines, L’Espirit de Chevalier, follow similar, although lesser, production patterns.
Often called the Secret Garden of the Graves, the estate itself can be traced to the 18th century; however, it wasn’t until the latter 19th that it began to make its mark in wine production under the direction of Arnaud Ricard. By the early 20th century, Gabriel Beaumartin, his son-in-law, took the reins, but sadly had the disadvantage of encountering the 1945 frosts during his tenure. The aftermath required major replanting for recovery and halted normal production until 1953. After this difficult ordeal, the Ricard family sold the property in 1983 to the Bernard family, owners of a distilling company, who hailed from Cognac.
Under the leadership of Oliver Bernard, Domaine de Chevalier has dedicated 80% of its 35 hectares to its red wines, which feature a strong, Cabernet Sauvignon-dominant presence, with a nearly equal blend of Merlot followed by a faint hint of Cabernet Franc. The whites, which were long considered superior to the reds by many discerning critics, are defined by Sauvignon Blanc blended with Sémillon. But with the addition of Stephane Derenoncourt as a winemaking consultant, the disparity has lessened considerably, bringing the reds to almost equal stature. All the wines are the result of stainless steel vat fermentation, and subsequent maturation in 50% new oak barriques, lending them their richness and complexity.