Tasted in Saint-Lager with Axel Joubert, 18 February 2020.
Château des Ravatys
Tel: +33 4 74 66 80 35
Axel on 2018 & 2019:
“2019 was a hot year, we had a little frost in our chardonnay but it was only planted 2 years ago so not a problem as we harvest after 3 years! The yields were not too bad in the end but the vines suffered in the heat so we lost some volume. In 2018 it was easier because there was plenty of rain at the start of the season and not much in the summer – so hot but never the same stress in the vines. We thought we would be starting our harvest at the end of August but in the end, there was no urgency, so we waited a little more than a week to start. It’s true that we can’t explain the difficulty with the fermentations – sometimes they stopped – but in the end all were done to dry.”
The wines are lovely in 2018 but I don’t see quite the same level of achievement that the 2017s showed. That said, given that their ‘reserve’ will cost you less than €13 and the others significantly less, they remain bargains!
All are bottled, the reserve was the last to be done – ‘just a few weeks ago:’
2018 Brouilly Le Marquisat
This, from the 2-hectare parcel opposite the château grounds. Not a long cuvaison – maybe 8 days in the cement tanks – whole clusters. This with an elevage that’s a little shorter – Bottled in June.
Not a deep colour – the nose is of freshness but is quite compact today. Incisive, nice drive here, a base of almost saline, slightly grained tannin – a little bitters – red-fruited. Very nice line – it will benefit from a year or two of patience but the shape is fine. Tasty wine in waiting here.
2018 Côte de Brouilly Cuvée Mathilde Courbe
Not a deep colour again but in this case, the nose is more open and very inviting – a lovely freshness of red fruit. Plenty of volume, silkiness, but also a fresh energy and cool fruit. Holding a fine line of mineral, almost steely-graphite style – iron and blood practically – that’s really good.
2018 Côte de Brouilly Cuvée Louis Pasteur
A parcel selection but with a longer elevage, assembling both foudre and barrel parts. Some modest destemming in some parts. Barrels averaging about 5-years-old.
Again quite a modest colour. Another compact nose but slowly showing a fine and pure red fruit – good clarity here. Rounder, more pliant, depth of flavour, changing and complex. Again a mix of the saline and graphite. Small waves of finishing flavour. Not a big wine in the context of the vintage but a completely delicious one – and already quite approachable!
2018 Côte de Brouilly Réserve
A more strict and small parcel selection, all barrel – same elevage time as the last, say, 10-12 months in barrel before assembling. ‘We don’t want too old barrels as we want to keep a nicely clean product.’ This bottled in January.
More high-toned – much of this emphasis is barrel-related but neither creamy nor vanilla – more a higher-toned spiciness. Not quite as supple as the cuvée Pasteur – more concentrated, here the oak is visible in the flavours too. A fine intensity to the finishing flavour – really holding well – but to avoid the oak, wait 3-plus years.
And their very non-standard white – for Beaujolais:
Pressed in Chassagne into barrels and then the barrels moved to here – about 0.5 ha.
Plump, round, an impression of some oak with ripe fruit. The wine is actually much more attractive than the nose suggests – it’s wide, has good freshness and a nice leading edge of flavour that’s got some good acidity attached. Like the nose, a little plump but with a semi-balancing fine minerality. A good Chassagne.