François Raveneau – 2019


Isabelle Raveneau 2021 - Domaine François RaveneauTasted with Isabelle Raveneau in Chablis, 23 July 2021.

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

It wasn’t possible to incorporate this domain into my tour of 2019s in January this year, but they were happy to see me in the summer…

Isabelle on 2019:
Due to a combination of factors, 2019 brought only half a harvest volume – we actually produced more in 2020 – starting our harvest a little later than in either 2018 or 2020. We experienced some frost and the vines didn’t really grow so well after, then was the cold weather during the flowering period followed by the heat and dry of the summer. We still had nice grapes but small grapes so the wines are quite concentrated. Bottlings were done end of April, beginning of May this year.

Isabelle reflecting on what has, or may have, changed at the domaine in recent years:
We are certainly better in terms of analysis, forecasting and planning – which makes life easier – but the actual way we work hasn’t really changed, we are just more comfortable in the processes of what we do. For instance, we have lifting gear, indeed a lift(!), so operationally we are better but not necessarily better at actually making the wine! The challenges are certainly different today than let’s say 40 years ago – but we continue, we hope, to make a small, hand-crafted product, with the best grapes that we can produce, yet they are still a product of their vintage – that’s our aim. What’s important is that we treat each plot in the same way, we don’t use contractors so we know that all the work is the same – but the wines are never the same.

The wines…

Simply a beautiful showing here – a couple of wines tight from their bottling, perhaps, but a great range and the most I’ve ever liked their Montée de Tonnerre!.

Given my 6-months later than usual tasting, all of these were bottled wines:

2019 Petit Chablis
An airy not so large but still attractive nose. That’s a nicely vibrant style that mixes florals and minerals in the mouth – not a demonstrative or big finishing wine but a completely delicious and compelling one.

2019 Chablis
Again the aromas are modest but fine – there’s an attractive freshness and it’s a fine invitation. More zip, much more acid-forward, but oh-so-good and growing more complex in the middle and finishing flavours. The last was excellent but this is great!
2019 Chablis 1er Forêts
A little more aromatic here, fine herbs and a bit more weight – another good invitation to drink. Here are some fireworks in the mouth – energy and complexity combined. That’s another great wine – I normally much prefer Butteaux but let’s see this year…

2019 Chablis 1er Vaillons
A slightly softer, sweeter, more floral nose – but pure too. A mouth-filling wine, almost juicy, slowly leaching its citrus complexities – a little more overtly concentrated a little less the fireworks of the last but what citrus a wine – very close to great!

2019 Chablis 1er Montmains
A small, more compact nose, slowly adding some saline accents. Direct, mineral, very mineral but nothing hard, just juiciness. What a wine, one of classic proportions and direct minerality – bravo – and certainly for keeping.
2019 Chablis 1er Butteaux
A more modest weight of aroma – faintly floral and attractive. Wide, extra vibrant – yes! Hard for me to spit this mouth-filling wine. Layered complexity in the finish – the nose needs to open more than today but the rest is simply great!
2019 Chablis 1er Montée de Tonnerre
Largest cuvée of the estate almost 3 ha
A more perfumed nose here, smoky spice, perhaps showing a suggestion of barrel. Bigger in the mouth and silky too, mineral though modestly structural. So slowly finishing. That’s as good a MdT as I’ve tasted here, still very slightly behind the Butteaux for my taste – but by very, very little in this vintage – bravo!
2019 Chablis Blanchots
Old vines planted today an 85 cm spacing – ‘Too small for our tractors so we are using a horse to plough here.’
A cushioned and floral aromatic, with finely divided complexity. Super width and mineral depth, growing in mouth-watering intensity – there is certainly more here than the MdT and, yes, I think my favourite of those two.

2019 Chablis Valmur
‘From the top of the plot, more sunny, more expressive and classic each year.’
A fine nose but it’s a compact nose today – really not giving too much away. More direct than the width of Blanchots – vibrant a little suggestion of more focus – but this is classic, crystalline wine from here to the finish – a wine that needs a bit more time before it will show itself.

2019 Chablis Les Clos
Airy and floral above, lots of aromatic width below – a very fine ensemble. An extra concentration melds with an incisive start, more modest in the middle and finish – not lacking any weight but more fading and, yes, haunting. A gorgeous thing.

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