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November 26, 2014

Domaine de Chevalier 2010

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Bordeaux offers some of the very best value anywhere in the world. It is broadly understood that leading Bordeaux offers incredible structure, balance and density of fruit and are proven to age better than any other wine. In truly great vintages there are are always a set of world famous estates that make wines of First Growth quality, yet remain incredible value: 2010 is amongst the greatest vintages ever and Domaine de Chevalier 2010 is stunning.

Taken together, 2009 and 2010 are widely regarded as the best back-to-back vintages in the history of Bordeaux; not since 1928 and 1929 have there been two consecutive vintages that will both, in their own right, go down in history as outstanding. In 2009 and 2010 Domaine de Chevalier made their greatest ever red, both scoring 95 points from Robert Parker, the 2010 96 from James Suckling and 95 from the Wine Enthusiast. That is an awful lot of wine for £40 a bottle, especially considering 95 point First Growths start at £250 a bottle.

If we compare Domaine de Chevalier 2010 against similar scoring wines from the left bank of the same vintage its Price Over Points ratio is very favourable. We tried the 2010 at the Estate recently and it is exceptional, displaying incredible perfume, with dark fruits, wonderful richness and structure. It was released originally, En Primeur, at £530 per case of 12 bottles and was subsequently marked up from 91-93+ to 95 points from bottle. As such it looks like the perfect time to buy, and the critics say it will enter its drinking window in three years. For the price point the quality is extraordinary and even more surprising considering they only make 6,500 cases a year.

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Domaine de Chevalier is one of the few chateaux well known for producing both top class red and white wines. It is cited in Pessac Leognan, on a gravel hill top, it is set apart from other chateaux in a landscape surrounded by forest. The terroir is made up of thick gravel and sand, with a lovely subsoil of clay and the Estate built a drainage system in 1962. The Estate is planted at a density of 10,000 vines per hectare and the vines have an average age of 30 years. The vineyard management uses 100% sustainable farming method and only organic fertilisers.

The winery has some of the best technology in Bordeaux, including 80 hectolitre egg shaped cement vats. Vinification takes place in French oak, which once filled, rest in a cold room to bring the temperature gradually down; the only other chateau in Bordeaux that has one is Chateau Margaux. Domaine de Chevalier Red is aged in 40-75% new French oak for 18-22 months.

Domaine de Chevalier was classified as a Graves Premier Cru in the 1953 classification. The oenologist is the world famous Stephane Derenoncourt who consults with many chateaux including Smith Haut Lafitte and Beausejour Daffau-Lagarrosse which obtained 100 Parker Points in 2009 and 2010.

Domaine de Chevalier 2010 
6×75 - £250 IB or £314.76 incl duty and VAT
12×75 - £500 IB or £629.52 incl duty and VAT

Robert Parker, Wine Advocate 95 Points 
This is one of my all-time favorite wines from Domaine de Chevalier, a silky, rather classic Pessac-Leognan with notes of scorched earth, tobacco leaf and black and red currants, but no hard edges. Fragrant, complex aromatics are followed by a savory, expansively flavored wine made from a final blend of 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot and 5% Petit Verdot. The wine hit 13.5% natural alcohol, which must certainly be among the highest they have ever achieved, even eclipsing the 2009. An opulent, precocious style of wine that seems much more developed, complex and delicious than I thought from barrel, this beauty can be drunk in 5-6 years or cellared for 20 or more. Drink 2018 – 2038

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