The Spirit of l’Esprit

ThinkstockPhotos-486926970.jpgI have mentioned a time or two in past blogs and Wine Journal ramblings how I spent my 50th birthday?

The en Primeur, even in Bordeaux, is held each spring, usually in early April, and that’s when my birthday falls! In 2013 I was in Bordeaux for the show and as is frequently the case, turned another year older while I was there. Happens this time it was my 50th, and Brad had, without me knowing, organized lunch and dinner for that day at a couple of Chateaux that I will never forget.

Dinner was at Chateau Margaux; it was a lovely evening of older vintages from magnums with Corinne Mentzelopoulos, owner, and Paul Pontellier, estate manager. Lunch was every bit as wonderful! I know, I know…too much of a good thing, but it was unforgettable! We had lunch with Olivier Bernard and some of the staff, along with the Johnston brothers of Nathaniel-Johnston negociants. Big and old bottles, spectacular setting, wonderful company and the conversation revolved around vintages before my time.

Not long after this visit, we began to offer a group of wines from Olivier Bernard properties, including the white wines of Clos des Lunes (dry whites made in Sauternes) and the white and red ‘second wines’ of the Domaine de Chevalier. The l’Esprit de Chevalier wines, if you haven’t yet tried them, are a must! We began with the 2010 vintages, and recently received the white 2011. Fans of the dry whites of Graves, and more precisely, of Pessac-Leognan, need to run to the nearest ABC location and grab a bottle of each!

l'esprit.pngAs a barometer, the white 2010 Domaine de Chevalier white scored 94 points by Mr. Parker. Both the red and white l’Esprit are $33!

Esprit de Chevalier 2010.jpgThe 2011 white is a blend of 60% Sauvignon and 40% Semillon. It has a nice gold color and aromas of delicate flavors, citrus and a touch of exotic fruits (litchi). On the palate, you are immediately charmed by freshness and concentration. In the background we recognize
this discreet and elegant minerality: the terroir of Domaine de Chevalier is talking. It is fleshy and pure, direct and quite open. Great pleasure to drink now and for several years.

The 2012 red is 68% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25 % Merlot and 7 % Petit Verdot. Very intense in color and a generous nose of red and black fruits, and slightly peppery spices. Mineral menthol notes accentuate the coolness. The attack, fresh and fruity, leaves room for a full, fleshy and tasty wine. The tannins are well integrated and quite supple. They envelop the wine without occulting the complexity. The balanced acidity enhances the flavors and excites the taste buds. The finish is concentrated and elegant.

These are a must-try and can be found in most ABC locations.

Shayne Hebert, Wine & Spirits Supervisor

Follow me on Twitter @abcwineshayne

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