Chevalier is a small vineyard surrounded by woods. It is one of the few leading properties in Bordeaux which still does not call itself a chateau. In the Graves region many estates have been placidly famous for several centuries, but this one was first laid down as a vineyard as recently as 1770. The first owner was a man called Cibaley, whose name somehow acquired an ‘h’ and, after becoming Chibaley, became Chevalier.
For some reason, although the wine made here began to be reputed for its quality, the vineyard was pulled up at the beginning of the 19th century and the whole plantation planted with pines. In 1865 it was bought by Jean Ricard, whose father owned Haut-Bailly and who had bought several other properties. He replanted the vineyard and began to recreate it reputation.
From from 1865 to 1983 the Ricard family owned this winery. They established the reputation and implemented many procedures to increase the quality of the wine, such as the rigorous selection of the harvest by successive sorting. All these procedures were backed by the advice of Profesor Peynaud. In 1983, the family and Company Lucien Bernard, leading merchants in brandies and top-quality Bordeaux wines, purchased the Domaine. Trained by Claude Ricard for over five years, Olivier Bernard now runs the estate with the same passion as his predecessors.
After Haut-Brion and La Mission, Chevalier is always among the top two or three Graves. The chateau suffers heavily from frost and frequent hail which can severely damage the crop. Yields are kept low and Olivier Bernard tends to ferment his wines at a slightly higher temperature than other famous Bordelaise. The high fermentation temperature is designed to extract the maximum of tannins and color. Otherwise the process of winemaking could be described as fairly classic. Sample of the Restaurants where the wine is served: Taillevent-Dutournier-Guy Savoy-Faugeron-Michel Rostang-Lucas Carton: Paris. L’Aubergrade (Puymirol)-Comme chez soi (Bruxelles)
Grape varieties: Cabernet Sauvignon 65%, Cabernet Franc 5%, Merlot 30%
Vines per ha.: 10,000.
Rootstock: 101.14 & 3309 Riparia on Merlot
Area under vines: 20 ha’s red.
4 ha’s white.
Number of employees: 12.
Second label: none.
Av. prod.: Red 10,000 cases.
White 1,500 cases.
Distr. of vines.: 1 block.
Soil: Soil of dark sand and fine white gravel, with a sub-soil of remarkably well drained sandstone.
Length of maceration: 2 to 3 weeks depending on the vintage.
Added yeasts: Natural.
Control of fermentation: Thermo-regulation.
Filtration: Light filtration prior to bottling.
Temp. of ferm.: up to 32°C.
Type of vat: Stainless steel
Age of casks: 60% new.
Time in cask: 18-22 months.
Fining: Fresh egg whites.
Type of bottle: Bordelaise
Bottled at the chateau: 100%
Pruning: Double Guyot.
Average age: 25 years
Av. yield per ha.: 45hl per ha.
STORAGE: 5-20 years.
SERVICE TEMPERATURE: 17°C.
FOOD / CONSUMPTION: They are a perfect complement to lamb, veal, poultry and delicate game.