Domaine de Chevalier vertical spans three decades

Tasted blind, and oh what surprises!

Wines all opened about one hour before the 10 am tasting on April 3, 2012

First 6 wines from the 1980s – the 1984 was nothing short of delicious, and totally unexpected!

Wine 1. Looks like from the earlier 80s. Transparent. Lovely nose of earthy pine forest. Airiness. Attack is a touch marked by the acidity. Somewhat edgy mid palate, but civilized fruit, that is now tertiary. Elements of tobacco. The mid palate is rather soft and the finish is soft yet lingering. I would give somewhat generously 16 out of 20, with a 1 on the time to drink scale (1 being now or never, 5 being don’t dare touch).  (1986)

Wine 2. Somewhat darker in the middle, although rim is also brick orange like. A darker fruit aspect, more youthful nose. Fresh chocolate aspect, with an orange rind like freshness and refined. Attack is smoother, with greater firmness on the mid palate, and then just slightly sharp on the finish, or perhaps just tannic, certainly still marked by tannins. 16 out of 20, with a 2 for time to drink.  (1984)

Wine 3. Slightly dusty aromas. Slight austerity on the palate. Hard on the finish. Leaves me cold. 14? 1 to drink… (1985) A second bottle was opened, and it was better. Much more iodine like freshness and not as austere on the palate, for that second bottle: 15+ out of 20, with 1 to drink.

Wine 4. More youthful nose. Has tannins but just a touch coarse? There is a metallic aspect, an iron aspect to this wine, that is not among the most elegant, but still there is refinement. 15  (1988)

Wine 5. Slightly rusty yet lovely aroma, some iodine, exuding hints of truffle and light chocolate with distinct tobacco like aromas and flavors. Truly lovely nose here. Soft attack, elegance on the mid palate, with a slightly dilute aspect and softened buy vestiges of edgy tannin, but soft and flavorful nonetheless. 17 and 2. (1983)

Wine 6. Seems the most youthful of the bunch. Nose is not that expressive, suggesting some time needed yet, although, yes, we do get some tobacco and especially here graphite notes. At least on the palate.  Firm attack, mid palate indicates substance, slightly austere tannins on the finish however.  16 and 3 (1989)

Domaine de Chevalier since the 1980s

Next flight – 1990s / Seek out the 1998 and the 1999

Wine 7 Here we have a more substantial nose. Pine forest and tobacco but also red fruit. There is a youthfulness to the palate, that also has fine sap and energy. A tannic edge that is pleasing. Could this be a 1998 or, rather, 1995? 17 and 4. 1998! This is a wine to seek out…

Wine 8 Slightly older look and aroma. Pleasing old leaf tobacco. Flavorful and elegant. A fine smoothness and freshness.  Slightly edgy tannins make me wonder if this is a particularly successful effort in a lesser 90s vintage. But refined and a lingering Graves finish. 1994? 16 and 1 1996.   

Wine 9 This could be 1990. Musc aroma. A bit musty as time passes in glass however… The palate is modestly impressive, perhaps a lesser early 90s vintage such as 1991 or 1994 because the tannins are a touch hard on the finish. Wait for it to soften and cross your fingers. 15 and 4. 1990!

Wine 10 Fine grip and even a bit of sweetness. Lots of life and energy and poise, too. There is a tannic tonicity to the finish that is appealing and augurs well for aging. Could this be 1998? 17 and 5 1999! Superb…  this was a revelation.

Wine 11 Warm inviting notes of ripe aged fruit. Touch of rusticity. Some compote notes, not quite figs, but a sign of a warmer vintage. Slightly drying on the finish though. 15 and 3. 1995…

A lovely private tasting room

Flight 3 – 2000s, pt 1 / The 2001 is à point, hold off on the 2005

Wine 12. Red fruit, precise nose and attack. Nicely rounded wine yet remains a bit wound up…  Could this possibly be a 2004 or even a 2002? Certainly looks older than Wine 13…  After revisiting, I am thinking more like 2001, as it opens up with time in glass. 16+ / 3 2001

Wine 13 Darker fruit aromas here. Lush and suave compared to the preceding wine, a warmer vintage. Ripe red and black fruits. The palate is medium bodied plus, with some richness bound by youthful tannins. 2006 perhaps?  … There is a tannic presence on the end palate that suggests youth. 16 / 4  2000 Interesting how the 2000 – in April 2012 – is not as interesting as the 2001, but seems to have more aging potential.

Wine 14 Rather Californian aroma here. The palate is somewhat sweet with a hint of raisin. I am thinking perhaps 2003? Certainly a warm vintage.  15 / 2 2003

Wine 15 Ripe but not as hot as the above. Going backwards, certainly riper than wine number 16, making me think of 2005 or even 2009?  Tasted a third time, and this wine impresses with its ripe fruit and freshness. And a certain evolution. Perhaps 2000 or 2001?  Or 2004? 16 / 4 2002!

Wine 16 Quite a fresh and yet intriguing nose. Quite primary. In the sense that it is closed at this stage but I am thinking of 2005 here. Or 2004? Cranberry freshness and very ripe cranberry. This has a tannic bite but smoothened enough… Could well be the 2004, or, if more youthful, as the palate is just slightly austere around the edges, although the mid palate has a dollop of sweetness. 16+ or 17 / 4  2005!

A fabulous lunch after the tasting!

Flight 4 – 2000s, continued/ Ooh la la, the 2008 is turning out very nice!

Wine 17 More cranberry freshness, Could this be a 2004 that has become softer? 17 / 3 2004

Wine 18 Sharper nose, coming from a slightly younger vintage? There is a certain metallic quality and a slightly short finish that reminds me of 2007.  When tasted again, more amplified. Not sure…  15+ / 3 2007 Bingo!

Wine 19 Warmer vintage? The nose has a “thickness” to it… and a certain metallic quality but not as sharp as the above. Broader on the mid palate, but a bit stolid at this stage… 2008? 2006? 15 / 4 2006

Wine 20. Very primary aroma here. The palate is rich, a touch extracted but youthful, rather normal for such a young wine.  2009? Still a hint of oak derivation. Rich wine. 17+ 2009.  Bingo.

Wine 21. More nuanced nose here. A touch of tonicity. Lovely wine, more civilized and yet also rather large scaled. 2005? 17 points… 2008! This was one of the fine surprises of the tasting: seek out the 2008 from Domaine de Chevalier.

Wine 22 Barrel sample of course. Lovely red and black fruit. Tonicity and verve. A bit austere, and yet a seashell freshness, too. 2010? Nope, this was 2011!

Wine 23 A bit more austere on the palate and slightly more monotone. I am wondering if this could be 2011? The nose is richer, but tighter… 2010!

A lovely 10 year comparison of Domaine de Chevalier white 2011 and ... 2001!

Over lunch

A rather tired red 1991, albeit from a super size format bottle, a double-double magnum, was just drinking well enough. More impressive, from a regular format bottle, was the 1981. The 2001 was just superb, in both red and in white. As is the 2011, one of the finest dry whites, as I also went to a Barriere Freres tasting and had a few other white wines. Finally, the Corton Charlemagne 2001 from Olivier Leflaive was drinking very well, too.

For complete Bordeaux tasting notes from barrel 2011: click HERE.

2 Responses to “Domaine de Chevalier vertical spans three decades” (Leave a Comment)

  1. […] – but firm – finish. The overall feeling is of nuance, that needs time in barrel. Tasted also at a vertical at the estate on Monday, and it was very good. In fact, wine writer Stephen Brook and I both confused it for the 2010! […]

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