Domaine de Chevalier is a Classified Growth in the Graves region of Pessac-Leognan. Described as a secret garden, the wines produced in the garden are anything but secret.
More than just a vineyard
Its history can be traced back to the 17th century. At the time, there was more forest than vineyard, which is why Chevalier is referred to as a secret garden. There are records of Domain Chibaley, “knight” in Gascon, including “houses, outhouses, gardens, grounds, vines, woods, and meadows.” Chibaley is meant to be linked with the pilgrim trail, Santiago de Compostela, which borders the estate.
Domain, had a purpose in the estate’s name. It acknowledged the fact that the property served as more than a place of work. Chibaley was a family residence and an agricultural estate that coexisted, where wine and other crops were grown.
Domaine de Chevalier has had only 3 owners during its long history. Chevalier’s reputation is thanks to the hard-work and dedication to tradition that these three owners embodied. The first owners were Jean and Arnaud Ricard, father & son, who were owners in 1865.
Claude Ricard ran the domain for 35 years, before the Bernard family purchased the property. In those 35 years, he learned and taught his team about his winegrowing know-how. Under his direction, the domain earned the grand cru classification in 1953. Thanks to Claude, Domain de Chevalier was able to gain recognition and respect on the international level.
Olivier Bernard is the current owner of the domain, and has been since 1983. He was very honoured and excited to accept the challenge of managing and producing great wines. Olivier knew that he had to think about the long-term well-being of the chateau. Maintaining the family tradition and continuing to produce a superb wine, are the tasks that Olivier faces every day. With several investments, he has been able to meet this challenges since he’s taken over.
Terroir that speaks for itself
Domaine de Chevalier’s terroir is the subject of many conversations in the wine world. Many chateaux that are classified growths took many centuries to finally obtain the coveted classified status. What is unique about Domaine de Chevalier, is that it achieved the same status in a shorter amount of time.
The estate is 120 hectares, and 45 hectares have grapes planted on them. 40 hectares produce red grape varieties and 5 hectares are used to produce white grapes. The quality of the soil that has a high percentage of gravel is ideal for creating elegant wines, and are pure expressions of the Graves region under the supervision of Olivier Bernard. The red grape varieties planted are Cabernet Sauvignon (63%), Merlot (30%), Petit Verdot (5%) and Cabernet Franc (2%). There are two white grape varieties planted Sauvignon Blanc (70%) and Semillon (30%).
Domaine de Chevalier: Tradition and Innovation
The day the harvest occurs is a very important day for a wine. It is often a very difficult subject to discuss. There are several factors that should be considered, and too many to keep track of. Grapes have to be picked at the right time, not too soon or too late. The sorting and varying maturity of the different parcels is also a complex problem. Olivier Bernard invested in state-of the-art vats stainless steel, concrete, and wood to help simplify the complexity of wine-growing. His dedication has brought us several magical vintages, all produced from the secret garden hidden in Pessac–Leognan.