50th Birthday Wine #2 – Domaine de Chevalier

A morning of chocolate and Champagne needs to be followed with some sustenance! The most lovely white wine I’ve ever drank, this Bordeaux Blanc is a pricey little number that is a true splurge – which luckily for me was also a gift from my Dad. Now if only he were there to share it with me, that would have been perfect.

I’ve only ever previously had this wine at a tasting – but one taste was all it took to change my wine drinking world.  You can read about that experience here. Seriously.  It started me on an entire year of seeking out white wines, and while I did discover a number of great white wines and am now a solid equal opportunity drinker, I didn’t find anything that comes close to this scrumptious wine.

This wine is a 2012 vintage and is comprised of  a 76% Sauvignon Blanc and 24% Semillon blend.  It doesn’t taste like either one of those varietals. It is the most interesting and complex wine I’ve ever tasted.  I don’t consider myself to have a very advanced palette – I try hard to continually develop it, but I often cannot find the proper descriptors for what I am smelling and tasting.  I do believe any wine lover, whether a beginner or advanced, would know that this wine is special.

It’s not very often that I want to just keep smelling a wine rather than drink it. This aroma is so expressive it’s almost intoxicating.  Tropical fruits and honey – just beautiful. Upon taking my first sip, this time I got something – and I’ve never heard this used as a wine descriptor before, but it was almost whiskey like to me. I am sure I am mistaking that for something else, but that’s what came to mind. In addition, there was citrus and honey and floral and nutty notes. This wine is perfectly balanced with a medium acidity –  so deceptive for what you would expect from a Sauvignon Blanc. It has an incredibly long finish – it just lingers beautifully…. We drank this wine on the beach so our pairings were goat cheese, chicken salad, crackers and sliced tomatoes.  My day just kept getting better.

When I entered this wine on Vivino, it was clear that I am not the only one who feels so strongly about this wine. But mere mortal wine drinkers aside, it turns out Karen MacNeil is also a fan of this wine, she wrote about it in her  Wine Speed newsletter. I am a  huge fan of Karen MacNeil and when an expert like her feels the same way about a wine as a mere novice like me, it’s a true moment of validation! (You can see her notes here).

Domaine de Chevalier is located in the Bordeaux region of France. More specifically, within the Graves region of Bordeaux, and even more specifically than that, the Pessac-Leognan appellation,  These areas are on the southern half of the Left Bank.

The grapes are hand picked in waves, with harvest beginning on September 12th and ending on October 5th in 2012.  The wine was aged in oak for 18 months and bottled on May 16th, 2014. There are approximately 18,000 bottles of this wine produced and it is considered to be one of the best white wines in the world.

The winery says that its land is A Secret garden in Graves – “located in the middle of a forest clearing that protects the vines, a sort of secret garden, far from the limelight…”

I have to think this secret garden is a magical place because this wine truly is a very special thing.

At $100+ a bottle this is not a wine I will have the pleasure of drinking often, but it is the wine that if I were looking to spend that much, I would not hesitate to purchase.

P.S.  A fun little side note about Bordeaux wines – most can be bought as Futures (en Primeur). That means that you could purchase the 2017 vintage today and it would not be shipped to you until the Fall of 2020. Famous critics sample  the wines directly from the barrel and score it, giving an indication of the vintage’s quality and aging potential. The idea being that the wine will sell for more in the future, than what you pay for it today. I don’t really think this is an investment tool, but it sure seems kind of fun! It’s like buying baby wine and hoping it matures into something spectacular. Check out the futures for this wine here.

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