lørdag 18. april 2015


Vinmøte Knut 27.2.15:

Barbaresco Vanatu 1999, Pelissero
Blekkaktig, kald og kjølig. Sigar, eik og moden. Nord-Italia ? Endel, eik, relativt moderne stil og floral tone etterhvert i glasset. Bør drikkes, kommer til å tørke ut. 90-91 poeng.

Domaine de Chevalier, Pessac-Leognan, France label

Domaine de Chevalier 1999, Pessac-Leognan
Sellerirot, klassisk Bordeaux. Snill i munnen og drikker pent nå. Litt flat og kjedelig som Domaine de Chevalier ofte er. 91 poeng.

Knut serverte den samme vinen på sitt vinmøte 24.11.11; Myk bordeaux, bløte tanniner. Rik og spenstig og ypper seg godt mot presumtivt bedre årganger. Deilig fragrant duft. Yngst og best ! 91 poeng

Domaine de Chevalier hides in a pine forest at the western edge of the region known since 1987 as Pessac-Léognan, the more northerly vineyards of Graves. This region is the frontline for the battle of vineyards against the suburbs of Bordeaux. At the northernmost point the two sit uncomfortably together, with the illustrious Chateau Haut-Brion and its counterparts - Laville-, La Mission- and Latour-Haut Brion - encircled by suburban streets. To the west, Chateau Pape-Clément has just a little more breathing space. Further south, past Chambery and Villenave d'Ornon, the majority of the chateaux and vineyards are to be found. Tucked away in the south-western corner, shielded by trees (which can make the property very difficult to locate when visiting) is Domaine de Chevalier.

Although many chateaux in the southern Médoc and Graves have centuries of history, this property dates only from the 18th century, and viticulture only significantly developed at Domaine de Chevalier during the 19th century, although the very first vines were planted long before that. As Bordeaux expanded and the Médoc was drained, opening up the gravelly terroirs of the left bank, one entrepreneur looked south instead of north to establish his vineyard. The man who planted vines on gravelly soils in amongst the trees was named Chibaley, and his venture was successful. His estate was not grand it seems, with small houses and outbuildings the most significant structures (although it is marked on the 1763 map of the region drawn up by Pierre de Belleyme) and he produced up to 15 tonneaux (1 tonneau is 900 litres) of wine per annum. Nevertheless, despite this apparent success things did not continue smoothly; by the early 19th century the land, which now appeared as Chevalier on the maps, fell into disuse, and the pine trees began to reclaim the vineyard.

Several decades passed before the land was to see serious viticulture again, and this came about as the estate was acquired by the Ricard family, successful barrel manufacturers from Léognan. Arnaud Ricard had purchased Malartic-Lagravière in 1850, and she was then looking to expand the family estate even further. They acquired the Chevalier land in 1865, when it was used mainly for agriculture and raising livestock, and the vines were of little importance. It was Jean Ricard that first extended the small vineyard, but it was his son-in-law Gabriel Beaumartin, who took control after Ricard's death in 1900, that began to build up the reputation of the wine with the help of Marcel Doutreloux as manager. The property remained with the Ricard family until 1983, eventually under the guidance of Claude Ricard who had taken control in 1948, and who saw Domaine de Chevalier produce some of its greatest wines - both red and white - during the mid-20th century. Domaine de Chevalier then passed, sadly due to disagreements within the Ricard family consequent upon the Napoleonic laws of inheritance, to Olivier Bernard, who at the time was best known as the owner of a distilling company. Although he did not bring great expertise concerning viticulture this was compensated for by Claude Ricard, who stayed on for many years as advisor, and whose children continue to work at the estate today.

The soil at Domaine de Chevalier is gravelly, as would be expected, with a depth of up to a metre in places, also with some dark sand, over a sandstone bedrock. This is nutritionally destitute soil, well drained, and therefore eminently suitable for the vine. Of 80 hectares there are currently 38 hectares planted up (of which 5 hectares are white varieties), the vines having an average age of 25 years, planted at a density of 10000 vines/ha on the usual rootstocks for Bordeaux, 101-14, 3309 and Riparia, and they are trained using the traditional Double Guyot method. The estate produces both red and white wines, as per the 1959 Graves classification. The white varieties are 30% Semillon and 70% Sauvignon Blanc; the red varieties are 65% Cabernet Sauvignon and 30% Merlot, the balance being 2.5% Cabernet Franc and 2.5% Petit Verdot. There is careful sorting during the harvest, with the white varieties picked by hand during several tries, both white and red go into small baskets, and the red is then sorted again on the table in the winery. Here the vinification is undertaken with advice from oenologist Denis Dubourdieu. The white grapes are pressed and are then fermented in oak barrels after the wine has settled. The reds undergo temperature-controlled fermentation in stainless steel vats of varying sizes followed by a cool maceration, limited to 30°C to 32°C, for up to three weeks to extract colour and tannin. The press wine may be blended back into the red, depending on the vintage, sometimes in considerable quantity. Both red and white wines see a period of time in oak, typically eighteen months, with 30% new barrels for the white with bâtonnage to mobilise the lees, 50% new oak for the red. Fining is egg white for the red, bentonite for the white, followed by a light filtration. The grand vin goes under the name of Domaine de Chevalier, whether it be white or red; the former is regarded by many as the greater of the two wines, and has a relatively small production of just 1200 cases. Meanwhile, there are 7000 cases of the red, as well as red and white second wines, 5800 and 800 cases respectively, both called L'Espirit de Chevalier.

During the Bernard era Domaine de Chevalier has either gone downhill to produce light and charmless wines, or has continued to produce classic wines of breed, balance and elegance, depending on which critic you follow. Opinions have differed, noticeably. Having tasted a few vintages I feel the latter more correctly describes the wines; these are structured, classically styled wines which need cellar time and do not necessarily flatter with plump fruit early on in their development. In fact, in very recent vintages they seem all the more superb, and whereas there are many estates that tend to be stronger on either the red or the white wine, at Domaine de Chevalier both can be excellent. Recent vintages such as 2006 show the fabulous appeal that the white can offer, but there have been many other vintages of note, for the red as well. My opinion is that this is undoubtedly a wine to buy with confidence.

Lucien et Andre Brunel Chateauneuf-du-Pape Les Cailloux, Rhone, France

Chateauneuf du Pape Les Cailloux 1999, Brunel
Sursøt, brett, rosin og botrytis. Varmeskadet og kokt. Ikke vurdert.

Chateauneuf de Beaucastel 1999, Chateau Neuf du Pape
Solmoden, rosin, varm, odde vin & portvin. En rik vin med en tørr avslutning. Mye struktur, jern og veldig typisk Beaucastel. Skosåle, mørk, men med bra syrefriskhet. 90 poeng.

Hermitage La Sizeranne 1999, Chapoutier
Frisk, grønn og korrekt tørr munnfølelse. Nord-rhonsk blod, stram, men samtidig moden og et bra tidspunkt å drikke vinen. Men det er den tørre klassiske stilen som holder den oppe. Beste Sizeranne smakt ? Og vi har drukket endel av denne i klubben..... 92 poeng.

Chateau Cos d`Estournel 1999, St. Estephe
Fantastisk nese som alltid med Cos. Tørrer ut i munnen. Solmoden frukt og en vellykket Cos for årgangen. 91 poeng.

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