Our new Report #50 The Wines of Chablis provides a comprehensive picture of one of the greatest wine regions in the world. No region produces such ethereal wines as does Chablis, and in our 35 page report we orient readers to this unique region, its wines, and, most importantly, its principal vignerons.
One of Chablis’ leading producers is Domaine François Raveneau. Indeed, many consider Raveneau to be the finest domaine in Chablis. Created in 1948, Domaine Raveneau is today directed by François Raveneau’s two sons, Jean-Marie and Bernard, and produces its wine from eight hectares of some of the finest climats in Chablis: Grands Crus (Blanchot, Les Clos and Valmur), Premiers Crus (Montée de Tonnerre, Les Vaillons, Butteaux, Chapelot, Mont-Mains and Forêt) and Chablis vineyards. Grapes yields are kept low (35 hl/ha), are all harvested by hand, gently pressed, fermented with indigenous yeasts and aged for 18 months in older oak barrels.
The 2014 vintage of Domaine François Raveneau tasted for our report is considered one of the finest in recent years. It was an extremely clean vintage with berries of similar sizes and superb acid levels, normal yields, and exceptionally clean fruit. The wines were still in barrel when we tasted them, but there was little doubt in view of their rich flavors and elegance that the wines of this vintage would be among the finest produced in recent years. Readers should keep in mind that Raveneau’s wines are well known for their longevity, so don’t expect them to reach their peak before several years of aging. Below are our tasting notes on the wines, tasted from barrel at the domaine with Isabelle Raveneau, Bernard’s daughter and assistant winemaker, in Chablis in April of this year. Go here to read more about our tastings in Chablis.
US importer: Kermit Lynch. Berkeley, CA, and Rare Wine Co., Napa, CA.
Raveneau 2014 Village Chablis 89-90 The Village Chablis is sourced from relatively young vines, planted in 2003. It offers fresh aromas of pear and grapefruit citrus on the nose and comparable flavors on the palate. It shows perfect balance with good crispiness and a long chalky finish. Raveneau 2014 Les Forêts Chablis Premier Cru 92-4 This wine is rich in fruit, offering a pretty floral bouquet with notes of fresh pear. It is round and full on palate with slightly more acidity than the 2013 vintage. Raveneau 2014 Les Vaillons Chablis Premier Cru 92-4 The Les Vaillons exhibits a lemon color with light peach fruit and notes of earth and crushed stones. It displays bright acidity on the attack and is chalky on the finish Raveneau 2014 Montée de Tonnerre Chablis Premier Cru 92-4 The 2014 Montée de Tonnerre displays fragrant floral aromas with fresh flavors of green melon and fennel. It is perfectly balanced with good acidity and freshness on the finish. Raveneau 2010 Montée de Tonnerre Chablis Premier Cru 94 The 2010 Montée de Tonnerreexhibits a medium yellow straw color with exotic aromas of white flowers and hints of nutmeg and vanilla. It is round and soft on the attack with a lanolin-like texture, subtle flavors of nutmeg, butterscotch, coconut and lemon extract, and finishes long. Raveneau 2006 Montée de Tonnerre Chablis Premier Cru 91 The 2006 Montee de Tonnerre is from a warm vintage and reveals a medium yellow straw color with aromas of nutmeg and honey. It is round and soft on the attack and displays a palate with flavors of lemon and ripe apple, finishing short. Raveneau Montée de Tonnerre 2014 (Chapelot) Chablis Premier Cru 92-4 This Premier Cru is sourced from 45-year old vines which get lots of sun and produce grapes that are full-bodied and powerful, offering chalky, ripe pear and a round ripe finish. Raveneau 2014 Montmains Chablis Premier Cru 93-5 This bottling exhibits an earth and flint nose and is pretty on the palate with attractive pear and grapefruit notes. It is quite round with excellent extract and a satisfying finish. Raveneau Les Blanchots 2014 Chablis Grand Cru 94-6 The 2014 Les Blanchots exhibits ripe stone fruit aromas with excellent flavor on the palate. It is beautifully balanced with superb acidity, freshness, and rich extract on the finish. Raveneau 2014 Valmur Chablis Grand Cru 95-6 The 2014 Valmur is more elegant than the Blanchot. It displays lovely aromas of melon and citrus followed by stony minerals, a touch of white pear, and crushed rock. It is a beautifully focused wine with excellent weight and a long finish. Raveneau Les Clos 2014 Chablis Grand Cru 96-7 The 2014 Les Clos reveals a light lemon color with a hint of white flowers on the nose. On the palate it offers light citrus with both good length and body and a saline touch on a very persistent finish. A wine with tremendous potential.