Domaine de Chevalier
Domaine de Chevalier is located in a clearing in the middle of a forest that protects the vines from extreme temperatures. In fact, Chevalier is a kind of secret garden. The estate is located in Graves, the oldest wine region in Bordeaux. According to this winery, balance is the most essential for a good wine. Balance between the spirit that pervades the estate and the people who work there year after year who are able to further improve their already considerable skills. The philosophy of Domaine de Chevalier is that only a great terroir can produce a good wine.
Chevalier's history is an integral part of his identity. The real birth of the estate dates back to the second half of the 19th century. Until recently, the forest took up most of the western part of Graves where the estate is located. Archives from the 17th century show that the small Domaine de Chivaley included houses, outbuildings, gardens, grounds, vineyards, forests and meadows. The name "Chivaley" (meaning "knight" at the time) and is believed to have been traced to the presence of the very old pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela which still borders the estate.
One of the things that makes Chevalier unique is how it gained fame in a relatively short time. This is of course due to the terroir but presumably also because over the years Domaine de Chevalier was managed by only a limited number of owners, who all considered it essential to keep the tradition of quality.
Only 3 men have managed Domaine de Chevalier from when it was bought by Arnaud and Jean Ricard in 1865 until it was bought by the Bernard family in 1983. Jean Ricard is considered the real creator of Chevalier. However, his son-in-law, Gabriel Beaumartin, who spent 40 years in service, was responsible for crystallizing Jean's reputation.
Claude Ricard has run the estate for 35 years. Claude was highly respected and had encyclopedic knowledge of wine growing. Under his leadership, the estate was included in the elite grands crus in the 1953 Graves classification. It is also thanks to Claude Ricard that the castle has acquired a truly international dimension.
In 1983, Domaine de Chevalier was bought by the Bernard family and Olivier Bernard was appointed manager to continue the work of the past 120 years and take a long-term approach. This was to be based on preserving the family tradition and continuing to produce an excellent and famous wine steeped in history. In accordance with this mission, major investments have been made in the vineyard and the cellar. Significant expansion was carried out and all aspects of winegrowing were reviewed.
Chevalier is all about quality and balance. The search for quality is a permanent priority. The way the grapes are picked illustrates the winemaking team's quest for perfection. The crop is monitored very carefully from 3 to 4 weeks before the estimated harvest date. The juice is analyzed regularly and the sugar levels are determined. The grapes are also tasted because when all is said and done, this is the only way to judge the quality of the juice. Tasting the grapes is especially important for red wine grapes, as physiological and phenolic ripeness are not necessarily reached at the same time. Through repeated taste tests and laboratory analyzes, the winegrowers can determine the picking order of the grapes in each plot according to the specific characteristics of the harvest year.
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