Learn everything about Chateau Olivier Pessac Leognan, with wine tasting notes and wine with food pairing tips. Learn the best vintages, a 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 like many of the top Bordeaux chateau, 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 families 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 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 wine making and sales, under a lease agreement which 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. However all those Cabernet Franc vines have been removed.
Overall, this shows a marked increase in Merlot in the vineyard since the 1990’s. 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 was previously was 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 1990’s. 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, that 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 the 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 the 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, vedant 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 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 tank 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: 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
25 Vintages 96,374 Views Sort by Vintage-Rating
|2019||Château Olivier Blanc (Pessac-Léognan)|
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.
1,953 Views Tasted Jun 8, 2020
|2019||Château Olivier (Pessac-Léognan)|
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
2,106 Views Tasted Jun 8, 2020
|2018||Château Olivier (Pessac-Léognan)|
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
1,716 Views Tasted Apr 19, 2019
|2018||Château Olivier Blanc (Pessac-Léognan)|
Juicy, ripe, sweet, fresh, slightly honeyed yellow citrus and bright pineapple with vanilla pop right away on the nose and mouth.
3,236 Views Tasted Apr 19, 2019
|2017||Château Olivier Blanc (Pessac-Léognan)|
Crisp, fresh, stony and floral, with loads of just squeezed lemons, green apple and grapefruit that come on strong.
1,651 Views Tasted May 14, 2020
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.
1,892 Views Tasted Apr 26, 2018
|2017||Château Olivier (Pessac-Léognan)|
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.
1,880 Views Tasted Mar 29, 2020
|2016||Château Olivier (Pessac-Léognan)|
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.
2,316 Views Tasted Sep 21, 2019
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.
1,802 Views Tasted Feb 10, 2019
|2016||Château Olivier Blanc (Pessac-Léognan)|
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.
1,780 Views Tasted Sep 21, 2019
Forward, fresh, sweet and juicy, with a core of yellow citrus and a hint of honey, this is already quite tasty.
2,031 Views Tasted Feb 11, 2019
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.
1,770 Views Tasted Apr 29, 2017
|2015||Château Olivier (Pessac-Léognan)|
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.
3,462 Views Tasted May 21, 2018
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
1,984 Views Tasted Apr 23, 2016
|2015||Château Olivier Blanc (Pessac-Léognan)|
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.
1,961 Views Tasted May 21, 2018
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.
2,067 Views Tasted Mar 12, 2018
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.
1,728 Views Tasted Apr 23, 2016
|2014||Château Olivier Blanc (Pessac-Léognan)|
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.
2,564 Views Tasted Feb 6, 2017
|2014||Château Olivier (Pessac-Léognan)|
Not as exciting as the blanc, but still charming, with its, medium bodied, forward, fresh, red berry dominated style.
3,295 Views Tasted Feb 6, 2017
This wine is a forward moving, smoky, black cherry-filled Bordeaux, which will offer pleasure and character on release. 87-89 Pts
1,832 Views Tasted Apr 24, 2015
|2013||Château Olivier Blanc (Pessac-Léognan)|
Light, but refreshing, the fresh, bright lemon and grapefruit flavors stand out and leave on a refreshing, sweet, citrus and vanilla note.
1,349 Views Tasted Feb 1, 2016
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
1,149 Views Tasted Apr 21, 2014
|2013||Château Olivier (Pessac-Léognan)|
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.
2,099 Views Tasted Feb 4, 2016
Opening with herbal, olive-filled and leafy aromas, the medium-bodied wine has a drying, sweet and tart finish. 84-86 Pts
1,516 Views Tasted Apr 21, 2014
|2012||Château Olivier (Pessac-Léognan)|
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
3,006 Views Tasted Apr 25, 2013
|2011||Château Olivier (Pessac-Léognan)|
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.
2,811 Views Tasted Feb 19, 2014
This wine features smoke, earth and some cassis with a sharp herb and red fruit finish. 85-88 Pts
2,845 Views Tasted Apr 25, 2012
|2010||Château Olivier Blanc (Pessac-Léognan)|
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.
2,121 Views Tasted Mar 11, 2015
|2010||Château Olivier (Pessac-Léognan)|
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.
6,998 Views Tasted Feb 15, 2013
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
5,069 Views Tasted Apr 22, 2011
|2009||Château Olivier Blanc (Pessac-Léognan)|
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.
1,189 Views Tasted Sep 20, 2019
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.
2,837 Views Tasted Dec 3, 2016
|2009||Château Olivier (Pessac-Léognan)|
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.
1,692 Views Tasted Sep 20, 2019
Wood, pepper, floral and red fruit aromas, medium in body with some dryness in the tannins is what you’ll find in this wine.
6,233 Views Tasted Jan 30, 2012
|2008||Château Olivier (Pessac-Léognan)|
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.
2,073 Views Tasted Sep 17, 2018
|2008||Château Olivier Blanc (Pessac-Léognan)|
Starting to fade, this bright, crisp, yellow citrus dominated wine needs to be drunk up.
1,225 Views Tasted Sep 17, 2018
|2006||Château Olivier (Pessac-Léognan)|
Medium bodied, almost light weight, soft textured, smoky, earthy, red berry oriented wine that is ready for its prime time appearance.
2,278 Views Tasted Dec 11, 2017
|2005||Château Olivier (Pessac-Léognan)|
Medium bodied, with spicy red and black fruit, earth and a touch of herbs, along with slightly drying tannins in the red fruit finish.
3,441 Views Tasted Jan 4, 2012
|2000||Château Olivier (Pessac-Léognan)|
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.
3,417 Views Tasted Oct 21, 2016