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Domaine de Chevalier Blanc, Pessac-Léognan 2016

White Wine from France - Bordeaux
A classic white Chevalier made up of 75% sauvignon blanc and 25% semillon, with the concentration and weight of fruit that mark it out as one of the great wines of Bordeaux. Taut and refreshing.
Price: £95.00 Bottle
Price: £570.00 Case of 6
Low stock
Code: BW5911

Wine characteristics

  • White Wine
  • Dry
  • Sauvignon Blanc
  • 13.5% Alcohol
  • Oak used but not v. noticeable
  • Now to 2030
  • 75cl
  • Cork, natural

Dry White Bordeaux

The Bordeaux region is most renowned for its red wines but there are a number of excellent dry white wines, some of them amongst the most prestigious white wines in France, and indeed the world.

White wine represents little more than 10% of the output of the region, from vines grown on about 7,000 hectares. Unlike Bordeaux AC reds, whites under the simple Bordeaux appellation may come from very prestigious properties within a commune because the commune appellation rules sometimes apply only to red wine. Pavillon Blanc du Château Margaux and Ygrec, the dry white wines from the legendary producers Château Margaux and Château d’Yquem respectively, can only bear the appellation Bordeaux AC despite each estates’ renown and status as a 1er grand cru classé for red wines.

As with reds under the basic Bordeaux appellations, the grapes that make white wine can come from anywhere in Bordeaux (and if made by a négociant company probably will). The principal grape varieties for Bordeaux AC...
The Bordeaux region is most renowned for its red wines but there are a number of excellent dry white wines, some of them amongst the most prestigious white wines in France, and indeed the world.

White wine represents little more than 10% of the output of the region, from vines grown on about 7,000 hectares. Unlike Bordeaux AC reds, whites under the simple Bordeaux appellation may come from very prestigious properties within a commune because the commune appellation rules sometimes apply only to red wine. Pavillon Blanc du Château Margaux and Ygrec, the dry white wines from the legendary producers Château Margaux and Château d’Yquem respectively, can only bear the appellation Bordeaux AC despite each estates’ renown and status as a 1er grand cru classé for red wines.

As with reds under the basic Bordeaux appellations, the grapes that make white wine can come from anywhere in Bordeaux (and if made by a négociant company probably will). The principal grape varieties for Bordeaux AC whites are sauvignon blanc, semillon, sauvignon gris, ugni blanc and muscadelle with some smaller plantings of colombard and a little merlot blanc.

At one time semillon was the most widely planted grape variety in Bordeaux, red or white, but since public taste moved decisively to red wines it has declined and now plays second fiddle to sauvignon blanc, which has enjoyed a renaissance in the wake of New Zealand’s success with the variety. Indeed, while most Bordeaux wines are a blend of complementary grape varieties, there are now a significant number of single-varietal sauvignons on the market.

White grapes, particularly sauvignon blanc, are harvested earlier than reds, unless they are destined for sweet wines, and many are hand-picked because of the narrow width of the rows in many Bordeaux vineyards though machine harvesting is an option for some. Vineyard management, as with reds, is much improved in recent decades, with a much better understanding of vine care and canopy management leading to more reliably ripened and healthy fruit. Those that can afford to will sort the grapes at least once on arrival at the winery, partly because of the inherent problems of fungal attacks in Bordeaux.

Winemaking techniques vary, with some producers having the resources to give the juice extended skin contact and the resulting wine some time in oak, though most cannot and do not. The bad old days of excessive use of sulphur are mostly gone and white wines are greatly improved, with better fruit characters across the board and terrific freshness and balance. The best wines are world class and many provide excellent value.

Bordeaux whites have a very pale yellow colour when young which will deepen to straw yellow with age. Pessac-Léognan whites and those vinified in oak are generally richer in colour and flavour and favour more elaborate fish and white-meat dishes.
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Domaine de Chevalier

This Pessac-Léognan estate is one of the only Bordeaux properties which has retained its ‘domaine’ title over the now standard ‘château’, reflecting a pride in its long history, which dates back to the 17th century. The name Chevalier has evolved from chivaley, the Gascon word for ‘knight’, which was originally the estate’s name according to maps dating back to 1763. It has been run by a string of dedicated owners, each of whom was at the helm for a significant length of time, and took the responsibility seriously.

Domaine de Chevalier is one of the most original estates in Bordeaux, making finely tuned and distinguished claret, with multi-faceted flavour and distinctive, mineral Graves character. It is also rightly famous for its long-lived dry whites from vines planted on five of the estate’s 45 hectares under vine. The vines are planted in a single block on gravel with clay-gravel soils and have an average age of 25 years. Great care is taken in the vineyard with individual lots picked and fermented separately, no herbicides are used and any fertilisers are organic.

Though the property, surrounded by woodland, has always been susceptible to frost damage, it has long earned a reputation for success in difficult years, and the forest also provides the vineyard with a variety of beneficial insects. In 1983 Claude Ricard, who had done much to establish the property’s reputation and whose family had owned the estate for over 100 years, sold it to the Bernard family whose...
This Pessac-Léognan estate is one of the only Bordeaux properties which has retained its ‘domaine’ title over the now standard ‘château’, reflecting a pride in its long history, which dates back to the 17th century. The name Chevalier has evolved from chivaley, the Gascon word for ‘knight’, which was originally the estate’s name according to maps dating back to 1763. It has been run by a string of dedicated owners, each of whom was at the helm for a significant length of time, and took the responsibility seriously.

Domaine de Chevalier is one of the most original estates in Bordeaux, making finely tuned and distinguished claret, with multi-faceted flavour and distinctive, mineral Graves character. It is also rightly famous for its long-lived dry whites from vines planted on five of the estate’s 45 hectares under vine. The vines are planted in a single block on gravel with clay-gravel soils and have an average age of 25 years. Great care is taken in the vineyard with individual lots picked and fermented separately, no herbicides are used and any fertilisers are organic.

Though the property, surrounded by woodland, has always been susceptible to frost damage, it has long earned a reputation for success in difficult years, and the forest also provides the vineyard with a variety of beneficial insects. In 1983 Claude Ricard, who had done much to establish the property’s reputation and whose family had owned the estate for over 100 years, sold it to the Bernard family whose profitable spirits business provided much-needed investment.

The ebullient Olivier Bernard worked alongside Claude Ricard for five years, learning the special qualities of the wine, before taking full charge. A superb new winery was built in the 1990s and the vineyard was expanded.

The red wine is generally a blend of 64% cabernet sauvignon, 30% merlot and 5% each of petit verdot and cabernet franc, and the white is a 70/30 split between sauvignon and semillon. Both are fermented in temperature-controlled stainless-steel vats before being aged in oak for 18 months: for the whites, 30% of the oak is new, whereas the reds use 35% new oak. We recommend drinking Domaine de Chevalier at between 10 and 30 years of age.
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Bordeaux Vintage 2016 Dry White

The 2016 Bordeaux vintage is good to very good for dry whites, with the best wines displaying fresh, aromatic fruit character.
2016 vintage reviews

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