“At Chevalier, every aspect of winemaking takes place in barrels, a percentage of which are new each year. This choice was guided not so much by a desire to give something of an oaky taste to the wine (although this is unquestionably positive), but to enable us to fine tune the final blend. We were pioneers of this very rigorous method, which we have never abandoned since. We feel it is the only approach that guarantees absolute respect for the grapes and vintage character.”


“The grapes are put into a pneumatic winepress where they are softly and slowly pressed. A this stage, an initial selection is made of wine from different plots. Each lot will be separately fermented and aged. The initial pressing is very gentle and the last of the juice is separately fermented.”

Running off into barrel and racking

“The must is run off into barrel in a refrigerated room where the temperature can be reduced to 16/18°C if necessary. Débourbage or settling can then begin. The must is decanted from its lees by gravity flow after approximately 24 hours. Thanks to careful sorting in the vineyard, the fermentation lees are of very high quality. It is therefore possible to retain a significant amount to optimise the wine’s structure.”


“The barrels are then taken into the fermentation area. After long experimentation, we now use about 30% new oak. Depending on the vintage and the sugar levels, fermentation sometimes requires additional yeast.”

“Temperatures frequently attain 25 or even 27/28° C during fermentation. This barrel ageing gives Domaine de Chevalier blanc better extraction than ageing in vat.”


I have noticed that even the finest wine from an individual barrel is never better than the final blend. The whole is definitely greater than the sum of its parts… The assemblage or final blend is done on the early side, in January after the vintage. This is to combine the elements for making a great wine as early as possible. Each lot adds complexity... Seeing as the wine is barrel fermented, and thus kept in small, separate lots, it is possible to fine tune the blend, in keeping with vintage character.”
“Blending is a very delicate operation. At Chevalier, it calls for the expertise of our entire management team as well as that of our consulting oenologist, Denis Dubourdieu. Barrel fermentation as practised at Chevalier is very expensive and time-consuming and would simply not suit a larger vineyard…”

Bâtonnage (stirring with a stick)

“Regular bâtonnage strengthens the wine’s structure and makes it more refined. This technique contributes richness, flavour, power, and a silkier texture. It also enhances ageing potential and freshness.”


“Ageing takes place on the lees until the end of the first summer after the vintage. The wine then spends a second winter in barrel, after which it is naturally clarified – in fact, so much so that when it is bottled the following spring, only very slight filtration is necessary.”

Oliver Bernard