One of the few châteaux in Bordeaux that is equally regarded for both red and white wine, Domaine de Chevalier has gone from strength to strength since the Bernard distilling company purchased this Pessac-Leognan property in 1983. Under the watchful eye of Olivier Bernard (who was only 23 when he took over) the vineyard has doubled in size. For the rouge, the 58 hectares are planted to 63% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 5% Petit Verdot, and 2% Cabernet Franc. Stéphane Derenoncourt of La Mondotte came on board as a consultant in 2012 and recent wines have been concentrated, minerally and still very well priced.
Though wine has been made in Pessac-Léognan since ancient Roman times, it was only in 1987 that the neighbouring villages of Pessac and Léognan were singled out from the surrounding Graves region and given their own appellation. The designation acknowledges that Pessac-Léognan is home to the most acclaimed properties of Bordeaux’s Graves region, such as the Premier Cru Château Haut-Brion.
The vineyards of Pessac-Léognan, just south of the city of Bordeaux, are crowded by suburban sprawl. About 3,000 acres are dedicated mostly to Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot grown for red wines, with a small portion devoted to Sauvignon Blanc, Sémillon and other grapes for white wines. Pessac-Léognan red wines are elegant and concentrated, with medium to full body. They offer distinct aromas and flavours of mineral and earth, and can have lush fruit or smoky tobacco character. Pessac-Léognan white wines are dry, unlike the famous sweet white wines from nearby Sauternes. They are generally crisp and minerally with citrus notes, often with rich character from oak aging and capable of improving with additional age.