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March 24, 2007

01 Domaine de Chevalier, Pessac-Leognan Blanc

Maybe it's the taste of chalkboard and mint-eucalyptus cough drops, but I feel like I'm back in school, sitting by the back window on a breezy fall day. Proving that terroir absolutely exists, the 01 Chevalier tastes first like Bordeaux--before we even consider the sauvignon blanc (70%) and semillon (30%) varietals that grow widely in this region of France. From the heavy drainage and gravel terraces of Pessac-Leognan, comes this striking white--smelling of warm brick, flint, smoke, hot beeswax, and Burberry cologne--more aptly described as "grey" or "taupe." It opens, but in the way the region's reds do, growing earthier and picking up wood spice and more minerality. When the fruit shows, it's in the form of smoked banana and carosene on the nose and a hint of gooseberry on the palate--some would liken it to Meursault-Charmes and, in any case, it more closely resembles the neighboring Bourgogne chardonnays than anything related to the often tart, zippy lexicon of trans-American-Loire-New Zealand sauvignon blanc. In several years time, this will be one of the world's great wines.


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