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François Raveneau – 2014

DSC09142Tasted with Isabelle Raveneau in Chablis, 07 January, 2016.

Domaine François Raveneau
9 rue de Chichée
89800 Chablis
Tel: +33 (0)3 86 42 17 46

Ouf! What a nightmare. Of-course, writing notes by hand can also sometimes be problematic – for instance when your pen dies – but 15 minutes into this visit my Windows 10 ‘said’ – There is a problem!. Yes indeed there was – it took 5 minutes to reboot, and the word document was empty – not even a word backup! Excellent! I have to say that Isabelle was very patient with me as I very quickly re-typed the first three wines from memory – ‘do you want to re-taste them?‘ she said – actually I was too embarrassed to say yes! – plus typing a quick synopsis of our discussion to that point. So sorry if the notes seem compact to start with…

Isabelle on 2015:
“We started on the Thursday after the hail. We lost about 50% as virtually all our vines were in the corridor of the hail. Fortunately all was clean and didn’t ‘turn’ – the rain was good though, as there was ‘space in the grapes…’ Overall, lower acidity and 13-13.5°”

Isabelle on 2014:
“I’m happy with the quantity. There’s nice minerality, super wines that are tasty and more ‘Chablis’ than the 2015s at this stage – more racy, more character. It’s looking good for bottling in April, or-so. Grapes were very clean, very proper, hardly and sulfur to start with.”

Isabelle on 2013:
The 13s are of course very tasty now but they have eaten lots of sulfur due to the widespread explosion of botrytis. The acidity is, vs the average, not high – the problem is that they are developing so fast that it’s fair to question their longevity. The 14s, like the 12s look set for impressive stability.

The wines…

Apart from the last two, of-course, all tasted from barrel. You wouldn’t expect me to say any less, but just a stellar set of wines…

2014 Chablis
Not so open but there is brightness. Wide, pretty and incisive in both form and width. Very tasty!

2014 Chablis 1er Forêts
Also a tight nose, this is very lovely; wide, expressive lots of bright complexity and a really lovely finish. Simply a great wine!
2014 Chablis 1er Montmains
Just a little more open aromatic, some freshness over a tighter core. Brighter, wider, perfectly textured, lots of bright complexity of wonderful clarity. Also simply great!
2014 Chablis 1er Vaillons
Brighter and more open – lovely width of fine citrus, mainly lemon, aroma. Lovely river of flavour like all of these – such clarity and complexity – there’s energy but never overwhelming. Gorgeous!
2014 Chablis 1er Butteaux
A different nose, that goes deeper, more vibrant and almost textured, perhaps discreetly reduced. Wide and intense, gorgeous clarity again, lovely flowing flavour and fabulous intensity.

2014 Chablis 1er Montée de Tonnère
Also a more open aromatic, faintly reduced, faintly oaked with some semblance of texture. Bigger, still a flowing river of flavour but here there’s a turn to a little more minerality. A steely mid-palate and finish. Wow this holds well. Not the richness of texture of some domaines, rather an intense clarity of flavour.

2014 Chablis 1er Chapelots
Not made every year, but there was enough in 14.
Much more floral, indeed elegant nose. Wide, flowing layers and waves – I love this – really. Slowly a saltiness towards the finish too – Bravo!
2014 Chablis Blanchots
Bright, some width, more depth of aroma. Wider, an implied richness but not really texturally – certainly concentration and intensity – really mineral, saline and very, very long. Super wine…. Even a reprise of flavour in the finish – you will never be disappointed!

2014 Chablis Valmur
Deeper, a more resonant nose, super depth – perhaps due to hint of reduction. Lush yet fresh and detailed, not a wine of richness, texture-wise, but again from concentration and intensity – wise. The empty glass a little floral too.

2014 Chablis Les Clos
Seemingly open but very discreet. Complex, and with super clarity if fine precise notes. Just a little more richness of texture vs the others, modest though. Growing intensity, wide and layered, simply joyous! Long finishing, very long.

And a surprise new wine:

2014 Petit Chablis
A deep nose, a little oak. Fresh, bright, complexity of oak notes. Fine clean Chablis notes too, a little more oak, salinity. Tasty fresh wine – a lovely drop. The first vintage of Petit Chablis. There’s just one barrel for tasting the rest is already in tank – hence a little oak here. A mark of its success that it follows the grand crus so well.

And just to see how they are going:

2013 Chablis 1er Vaillons
Rounder nose, almost a little floral honey. Rounder, still lots of mouth-watering, a certain density and an almost more savoury impression. Also long but very much more modestly and sweetly than the 14s…

2013 Chablis 1er Butteaux
A fresher nose, wider too, the depth is suggested rather than delivered today. Here is a lovely bright, wide, fresh and complex wine – the flavours are a little darker and sweeter than the 14, but here is a finely guarded but delivered complexity and interest. There’s an extra sweetness in the finish – a block of flavour but only there. This is very fine!

Agree? Disagree? Anything you'd like to add?

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