When Sleep Deprived & Parched, There’s No Place Like Domaine de Chevalier

When Sleep Deprived & Parched, There’s No Place Like Domaine de Chevalier

Post by John Perry | April 8th, 2011

While my colleagues from the south may be able to cope with the temps in Bordeaux this week, 80 degrees is roasting for this northern California guy.  Couple that with tasting 50-100+ wines in a day and the insanity of Bordeaux rush hour traffic, and you’ve got a recipe for disaster.  Thankfully, we wound up at Domaine de Chevalier for dinner, which would turn out to be one of my most memorable experiences in Bordeaux.

Olivier Bernard: A true gentleman

With the mood set—lack of sleep, spent palate, hot weather, traffic jams, getting lost—we pulled up to Domaine de Chevalier looking something like The Bad News Bears. Outside to greet us was the owner of the property, Olivier Bernard, whose reputation had preceded him. My boss had told me that Olivier is a really intelligent and charming guy, and the negociant who drove me to the property confirmed this. But meeting him in person, I was blown away by his generosity, relaxed personality, and philosophy about wine.

Sporting a suntanned face, calloused hands, and the build of a linebacker, you immediately get the sense that he’s completely down to earth and connected to the land here, despite being the owner of one of the best properties in Pessac.  He welcomed us into the entrance of the cellars, and seemed to know that, instead of wine, what we’re really needed was a glass of water!  With our thirst quenched, rather than pouring the 2010, he offered us a tour, telling us he knew we had very likely had the wine multiple times this week (which we had) and that there was no need to strain us further when “relaxation is the only thing on the agenda.” (more…)