Chateau Olivier Pessac Leognan, Bordeaux, Complete Guide


Learn everything about Chateau Olivier Pessac Leognan, with wine tasting notes and wine with food pairing tips. Learn the best vintages, the history of the property, and information on the vineyards and winemaking. If you want to read about other important, Bordeaux Chateaux: Links to all Bordeaux Wine Producer Profiles

Chateau Olivier History, Overview

Chateau Olivier is in contention for one of the oldest properties in Bordeaux. Bordeaux wine historians believe the estate dates back as far as the 11th century. Some ancient remnants of the original buildings can be seen close to the east pavilion on the lower portions of the property.

Those ancient beginnings are how Chateau Olivier is actually one of the few castles in the Bordeaux region. There is even a moat and drawbridge as well. Chateau Olivier is worth the trip to see.

The next era for Chateau Olivier came into being as many of the top Bordeaux chateaus, through marriage and a dowry. In 1663, Pierre Penel, the Baron of La Brede married Marie de Lasserre. She was the daughter of the lord of Olivier. Her dowry was the vineyard that we know of today as Chateau Olivier.

In 1882, there was a catastrophic fire and Chateau Olivier needed to be rebuilt. The new owners chose a Troubadour style, which was unique for not only Graves but in Bordeaux as well. In 1867, Chateau Olivier was purchased by the mayor of Bordeaux, Alexandre de Bethmann. The de Bethmann family, which has their ancestral roots in Germany, own a very large banking operation, Bethmann Bank.

Chateau Olivier was not the family’s first foray into owning a Bordeaux vineyard, at one point in time, they also owned Chateau Gruaud Larose in St. Julien. Chateau Olivier continues to remain in the hands of the de Bethmann family today.

Almost a century later, Chateau Olivier was officially listed as one of Gironde’s Sites Pittoresques and became a protected structure. In 1953, the chateau, its outbuildings, moat, and fountains, were all classified as historic monuments.

For a period of time, the negociant firm of Eschenhauer managed the winemaking and sales, under a lease agreement that was terminated in 1981. Jean-Jacques de Bethmann managed Chateau Olivier until July 2012, when he passes away. He was ably succeeded by his son, American-born and educated, Alexandre de Bethmann, who has overseen a noticeable increase in quality, especially in their white wines.

Chateau Olivier Vineyards, Terroir, Grapes, Winemaking

Chateau Olivier is quite large at 220 hectares. However, it is important to note that only 60 hectares are under vine. For the red wine, 52 hectares are planted to 58% Merlot, 40% Cabernet Sauvignon and 2% Petit Verdot. Previously there was 10% Cabernet Franc planted. Today, all those Cabernet Franc vines have been removed.

Overall, this shows a marked increase in Merlot in the vineyard since the 1990s. Previously, Cabernet Sauvignon occupied close to 70% of the grapes planted for red wine. So as you can see, over the past several years, the makeup of the vineyard has gone through massive changes.

It’s also important to note that Chateau Olivier planted 8 new hectares of vines that were previously were used for forest land.

For the white Bordeaux wine of Chateau Olivier, 8 hectares of vines are planted to 78% Sauvignon Blanc, 20% Semillon, and 2% Muscadelle. Interestingly, while vineyards planted for red wine grapes are often changing their plantings over the years, most vineyards with white wine grapes, seem to stay the same.

That is not the case, as the amount of Semillon has been decreased by 10%, while the Sauvignon Blanc has been increased by 10%, since the mid-1990s. Those vines are old with an average of 40 years of age.

The terroir of Chateau Olivier is gravel with clay and limestone in the topsoil, which is common to the Pessac Leognan appellation. Underneath that, you find more gravel, sandstone, rocks, sand, and limestone. The red wine grapes are planted in gravelly, sandy soils. Most of the white wine grapes are planted in the cooler, limestone, and clay terroir. They have hillsides that rise to 55 meters in elevation.

The vines for both red and white wine are planted to a vine density that varies from 8,000 to 10,000 vines per hectare. Extensive replanting has been taking place in the vineyards, so the younger vines are now planted to the higher levels of vine density.

On average, the vines are close to 25 years of age. The vines are planted to a vine density that ranges from 8,000 to 10,000 vines per hectare. Newer plantings are being done at higher levels of density.

As you read earlier, only a relatively small portion of the vineyard is cultivated with vines here. At Chateau Olivier, 160 hectares are unplanted and instead remain devoted to trees, verdant forests, parks, and grazing land.

Chateau Olivier Winemaking

For the production of the red wine of Chateau Olivier, the wines are vinified in temperature-controlled, stainless steel vats. Malolactic fermentation takes place in the tank. The wines of Chateau Olivier are aged in an average of 30% new French oak barrels for between 12 and 14 months.

To produce the white wine of Chateau Olivier, 33% of the berries are allowed skin contact before fermentation. Vinification begins in tanks and is finished in French oak barrels. The wine is aged on its lees for 9 months before bottling.

The large estate of Chateau Olivier produces close to 20,000 cases of red Bordeaux wine per year and 3,000 cases of white Bordeaux wine per vintage. There is a second wine that is sold under two names, La Seigneurie d’Olivier, and Dauphin d’Olivier.

The Best Vintages of Chateau Olivier are: 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2012, 2010, 2009 and 2005. However, it is important to keep in mind that in some vintages, the red wines are going to be much better than the white wines. There are also years when the white wines are superior to the red wines. Since 2015, due to changes in the vineyards, you can taste more depth and complexity in the wines.

When to Drink Chateau Olivier, Anticipated Maturity, Decanting Time

Chateau Olivier can be enjoyed on the young side with decanting. Young vintages can be decanted for an average of 1 to 90 minutes, give or take. This allows the wine to soften and open its perfume. Older vintages might need very little decanting, just enough to remove the sediment.

Chateau Olivier is usually better with at least 5-7 years of bottle age. Of course, that can vary slightly, depending on the vintage character. Chateau Olivier offers its best drinking and should reach peak maturity between 9-16 years of age after the vintage.

Serving Chateau Olivier, with Wine, Food, Pairing Tips

Chateau Olivier is best served at 15.5 degrees Celsius, 60 degrees Fahrenheit. The cool, almost cellar temperature gives the wine more freshness and lift. The red wine of Chateau Olivier is best served with all types of classic meat dishes, veal, pork, beef, lamb, duck, game, roast chicken, roasted, braised, and grilled dishes.

Chateau Olivier is a perfect match with Asian dishes, hearty fish courses like tuna, salmon, mushrooms, and pasta as well as cheese.

The white wine of Chateau Olivier is a perfect wine to serve with shellfish, sashimi, sushi, all types of seafood, chicken, veal, and cheese.

Château Olivier Wine Tasting Notes

30 Vintages 121,128 Views Sort by Vintage-Rating

2020 Château Olivier Blanc  (Pessac-Léognan) 93

Crushed rock, waxy lemon, grapefruit, flowers, green apple and lemon oil shoots from the glass. Bright, fresh, creamy and juicy with Meyer lemon, tangerine and a drop of honey on the palate, this is already showing just great. 93 Pts

1,700 Views   Tasted
2020 Château Olivier  (Pessac-Léognan) 92

With a deep color that is impossible to miss, the wine offers its sweet vanilla, tobacco leaf, savory herbs, cigar box and red fruit aromas with ease. Elegant and refined, medium-bodied, silky and fresh, this is going to be one of the top vintages Chateau Olivier has ever produced. There is good purity to the fruits, length and lift in the finish, making this a pleasure to taste. 91-92 Pts

1,832 Views   Tasted
2019 Château Olivier  (Pessac-Léognan) 93

This is a superb vintage for Chateau Olivier. Rich, silky, velvety and refined, the fruit tastes as good as it feels on the palate. Elegant, fresh and pure, there is length, energy and complexity with a fabulous sense of richness on the palate that remains with you all the way through to the finish. Give this a few years in the cellar and it should really start to shine. Drink from 2024-2039. 93 Points

881 Views   Tasted

Smoked, sweet cherries with a hint of vanilla, lush, round, soft textures, medium-bodied and a good mid-palate to display all the sweet, ripe, lush, juicy fruit. 90-92 Pts

2,721 Views   Tasted
2019 Château Olivier Blanc  (Pessac-Léognan) 92

Bright, crisp, fresh, lemons, green apples, tangerine rind and a touch of honey create the right notes on the nose. Fresh, zesty and crisp on the palate, the finish continues that theme with creamy lemons in the endnote. Drink from 2022-2034. 92 Points

907 Views   Tasted

Fresh-squeezed pomelo, green apples and lemon peel hit the right notes on the nose. On the palate, the wine is fresh, zippy and zesty, with a shot of sweet, crisp citrus in the finish. 92 Points

2,542 Views   Tasted
2019 Château Olivier Le Dauphin d'Olivier  (Pessac-Léognan) 88

Soft, fresh, light, fruity and fully ready to go, this, red berry filled wine, with its tobacco edge is perfect for easy, near-term enjoyment. Drink from 2022-2026. 88 Points

798 Views   Tasted
2019 Château Olivier Le Dauphin d'Olivier Blanc  (Pessac-Léognan) 85

Orange and yellow citrus with a dab of honeysuckle and freshness on the palate and in the finish. Enjoy this over the next few years. Drink from 2022-2025. 85 Points

576 Views   Tasted
2018 Château Olivier Blanc  (Pessac-Léognan) 93

Crisp, bright and sweet with Meyer lemon, pear and mango notes on the nose and palate. Energetic, fruity and fresh, with a gorgeous, creamy, lemon and bright pineapple filled finish, this is showing quite nicely already. 93 Points

1,423 Views   Tasted

Juicy, ripe, sweet, fresh, slightly honeyed yellow citrus and bright pineapple with vanilla pop right away on the nose and mouth. 91 Points

3,500 Views   Tasted
2018 Château Olivier  (Pessac-Léognan) 92

Refined, soft, elegant, forward, sweet and with a red cherry and plum, tobacco and smoke infused character, the wine ends with a bright, fresh hit of sweet, red fruits. 92 Points

1,629 Views   Tasted

Elegant, medium-bodied and refined, the wine focuses on its tobacco leaf, crème de cassis and floral profile and the silky, fresh textural experience. 90-92 Pts

2,402 Views   Tasted
2018 Château Olivier Le Dauphin d'Olivier Blanc  (Pessac-Léognan) 87

Honeysuckle and lemons blend together to produce a light, forward, early drinking citrus oriented finish. Enjoy this over the next couple of years while the Grand Vin develops. 87 Points

1,389 Views   Tasted
2017 Château Olivier Blanc  (Pessac-Léognan) 92

Crisp, fresh, stony and floral, with loads of just squeezed lemons, green apple and grapefruit that come on strong. 92 Points

2,268 Views   Tasted

Energetic yellow citrus notes pop with acidity. There is a touch of sweet honeysuckle, green apple and tropical fruits that add complexity. Lively and vibrant, the finish is loaded with just squeezed lemons. 92 Points

2,043 Views   Tasted
2017 Château Olivier  (Pessac-Léognan) 89

Elegant, soft and polished, the fruits are fresh, lively and sweet. From start to finish there is a good energy radiating from the smoky red fruits. 89 Points

2,191 Views   Tasted
2016 Château Olivier  (Pessac-Léognan) 92

Refined, elegant ripe and juicy, this is the finest vintage of Chateau Olivier Rouge ever produced. It is the purity in the fruit that defines this medium bodied, round, soft, fresh, red berry and leafy tobacco oriented wine. Drink it young if you must, else, age it for 6-8 years allowing it to gain more secondary nuances. 92 Points

3,720 Views   Tasted

Elegance, refinement and purity in the fruit define this medium bodied, soft, fresh, red berry and leafy tobacco oriented wine. You can enjoy this young, or age it for a decade allowing it to gain more secondary nuances. 92 Points

2,170 Views   Tasted
2016 Château Olivier Blanc  (Pessac-Léognan) 91

This is ready for prime time drinking, if you like your white Bordeaux on the fresh side with loads of juicy yellow citrus fruits and a hint of honey. 91 Points

2,492 Views   Tasted

Forward, fresh, sweet and juicy, with a core of yellow citrus and a hint of honey, this is already quite tasty. 91 Points

2,722 Views   Tasted

Citrus peel notes, blended in with a hint of tropical fruit and flowers defines the wine. A touch of honeysuckle rounds things off in the finish. 91 Points

1,935 Views   Tasted
2015 Château Olivier  (Pessac-Léognan) 92

The smoke filled nose with its spicy red fruits and tobacco leaf sets the off in the right direction. Medium bodied, forward, soft and silky, the wine offers purity of fruit, polish and elegance. 92 Points

3,690 Views   Tasted

A medium-bodied, elegant charmer with silky, soft textures and ripe, sweet, dark, red fruits with more volume and depth than usual -- which is nice to see. 89 - 91 Pts

2,201 Views   Tasted
2015 Château Olivier Blanc  (Pessac-Léognan) 92

Sweet lemons, hints of honeysuckle and vanilla with a lime and green apple note added for good measure. The fruit is sweet, pure and fresh, which delivers a citrus and stone packed finish. 92 Points

2,115 Views   Tasted

Packed with Meyer lemon, vanilla, honey and floral characteristics, the wine offers length, purity of fruit, zesty acidity and a lemon, lime finish with just a dab of honey, to sweeten things up. 92 Points

2,208 Views   Tasted

Lemon custard, green apple and grapefruit notes are abundant in this crisp, crunchy and fresh wine. Prepare yourself for a blast of fresh, racy acidity in the bright, citrus finish. 92 Points

1,866 Views   Tasted
2014 Château Olivier Blanc  (Pessac-Léognan) 92

Blasting off with just squeezed grapefruit, lemon peel, flowers and spice, this really shows a lot of freshness and fruit on the palate, and in the nose. 92 Points

2,729 Views   Tasted
2014 Château Olivier  (Pessac-Léognan) 88

Not as exciting as the blanc, but still charming, with its, medium bodied, forward, fresh, red berry dominated style. 88 Points

3,530 Views   Tasted

This wine is a forward moving, smoky, black cherry-filled Bordeaux, which will offer pleasure and character on release. 87-89 Pts

1,946 Views   Tasted
2013 Château Olivier Blanc  (Pessac-Léognan) 89

Light, but refreshing, the fresh, bright lemon and grapefruit flavors stand out and leave on a refreshing, sweet, citrus and vanilla note. 89 Points

1,546 Views   Tasted

With a depth of fresh citrus that offers length and complexity, the wine leaves a good impression with each sniff and sip. 88-90 Pts

1,345 Views   Tasted
2013 Château Olivier  (Pessac-Léognan) 86

Light in color, medium bodied and already accessible, the wine is fresh and on the strawberry and red cherry side of the early drinking, style range. The wine was made from a blend of 58% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot and 2% Petit Verdot. 86 Points

2,449 Views   Tasted

Opening with herbal, olive-filled and leafy aromas, the medium-bodied wine has a drying, sweet and tart finish. 84-86 Pts

1,562 Views   Tasted
2012 Château Olivier  (Pessac-Léognan) 89

This medium-bodied and elegant lighter style of Pessac Leognan offers sweet licorice, plums and dark cherries with supple textures in an open style. One of the best vintages of Olivier I recall tasting. 89-91 Pts

3,073 Views   Tasted
2011 Château Olivier  (Pessac-Léognan) 85

Medium bodied, lots of smoke, earth and raspberry scents in the aromas, the wine shows a bit of green and dryness in the fresh, crisp red berry finish. 85 Points

3,230 Views   Tasted

This wine features smoke, earth and some cassis with a sharp herb and red fruit finish. 85-88 Pts

2,906 Views   Tasted
2010 Château Olivier Blanc  (Pessac-Léognan) 90

Blending 80% Sauvignon Blanc with 20% Semillon produced a wine that combines fresh grapefruits with orange peel and floral characteristics. There is a nice touch of honeydew melon that further complicates things. The fresh finish and open character make this prime for early drinking. 90 Points

2,185 Views   Tasted
2010 Château Olivier  (Pessac-Léognan) 89

This light, fresher, medium bodied style of wine, from a blend of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon and 40% Merlot is dominated by red fruits, earth and spice. 89 Points

7,154 Views   Tasted

Olivier delivers cassis, tobacco and blackberry aromas. Medium bodied, this finesse styled wine ends with an earthy, cassis and fresh herb finish. 88-90 Pts

5,225 Views   Tasted
2009 Château Olivier Blanc  (Pessac-Léognan) 91

Yellow citrus, honeysuckle and mango show their character on the nose. Ripe, lush, polished and fresh, the wine is juicy, and crisp in the pomelo tinged finish. This is probably drinking at close to peak, so if you have a bottle, pop a cork. 91 Points

1,479 Views   Tasted

Ready to drink vibrant charmer, with freshness galore, ripe citrus, just squeezed grapefruit, lemon and a touch of orange blossom in the nose let this shine with fresh seafood. The fruit has a nice sense of purity to it. 90 Points

3,108 Views   Tasted
2009 Château Olivier  (Pessac-Léognan) 88

Medium bodied, round, juicy and with sweetness to the dark red fruits in the attack, the texture is quite nice. In the finish, you also notice olive, leaf and herbs blended with the fruit in the finish. 88 Points

2,603 Views   Tasted

Wood, pepper, floral and red fruit aromas, medium in body with some dryness in the tannins is what you’ll find in this wine. 88 Points

6,495 Views   Tasted
2008 Château Olivier  (Pessac-Léognan) 87

Medium bodied, with an earthy, forest character, the wine is close to fully developed, offering, bright red fruits, cigar wrapper and spice, but it is on the lighter side. 87 Points

2,476 Views   Tasted
2008 Château Olivier Blanc  (Pessac-Léognan) 85

Starting to fade, this bright, crisp, yellow citrus dominated wine needs to be drunk up. 85 Points

1,631 Views   Tasted
2006 Château Olivier  (Pessac-Léognan) 87

Medium bodied, almost light weight, soft textured, smoky, earthy, red berry oriented wine that is ready for its prime time appearance. 87 Points

2,640 Views   Tasted
2005 Château Olivier  (Pessac-Léognan) 87

Medium bodied, with spicy red and black fruit, earth and a touch of herbs, along with slightly drying tannins in the red fruit finish. 87 Points

3,703 Views   Tasted
2000 Château Olivier  (Pessac-Léognan) 87

Much more interesting on the nose than the palate. Medium bodied, soft, elegant and refined in texture, the wine is on the light side, as far as density goes. The fruit is ripe, there is that mix of bright, tart and spicy that works, but it lacks the weight needed to carry it through. 87 Points

4,192 Views   Tasted