Profile: Gaston et Pierre Ravaut

Update 21.12.2017(4.12.2017)billn

Tasted with Vincent Ravaut in Ladoix, 07 November 2017.

Domaine Gaston et Pierre Ravaut
Hameau De Buisson,
21550 Ladoix-Serrigny
Tel: +33 3 80 26 41 94

Once named Domaine Gaston et Pierre Ravaut, this domaine has shrunk in both name and size ​as Gaston is now retired and Pierre has moved to his own domaine in Ladoix – Vincent, here, has 12.5 hectares, Pierre more like 7 hectares as he has less space. “In the end we had different ideas about what we wanted to do with the wines” said Vincent – “So this was really the easiest approach.

This domaine tends to fly well below the critical radar – probably because they have such a large private client list which accounts for almost forty percent of their sales – all happy to pay a visit to Ladoix-Serrigny. The domaine’s main market is also France, accounting for about fifty percent of its sales. Of-course, the domaine might also be less well-known because they are hidden away in the small hamlet of Buisson; a quick left turn from the main road in Ladoix as you reach the northern limits of the village.

Today Vincent is the sixth generation of the family to run this domaine. The domaine is completely owned by the family, so there no vineyard contracts with third parties. Vincent’s great-grandfather (a Gaston!) had a small auberge for the quarry workers where plenty of the domaine’s wine was sold – so unlike other domaine’s of the time, not everything was sold to the négociants of Beaune. Today the domaine makes approximately eighty percent red from a mix of vines between Aloxe-Corton and Comblanchien to the North, including Grand Crus of Corton and Corton-Charlemagne.

In the vines, Vincent says “We are not Biodynamic, but we are close.” Intervention is kept to the minimum and ploughing is used in preference to herbicides, Vincent continues “This has been the case since about 2000 and we are very happy with the way the soil has responded, due to this regular aeration. Of-course we have some parcels that are quite humid – due to the soil – but we try to avoid using a helicopter to treat them in Ladoix!

In the cuverie Vincent points out “Aloxe is a very different appellation to the others, we have to change our vinifications, making less pigeage because the wines can be so powerful that they lack roundness. Our vinifications are with 5 days of prefermentation maceration and fermentation temperatures of less than 30°C, typically. 20-21 days cuvaison but less pigeage. I got rid of pumping, all is now done by gravity from the destemmed fruit – never too ripe – I like 12-12.5° but not more.

“Whites are early harvests, a week before the reds. The chardonnay grapes get a good pressing, without much sulfur dioxide, so the must often goes a little brown. The musts are then left for the solids to settle in their own time, before being placed in the barrels. The colour comes back to normal in the barrels Vincent is happy to report – even his grandfather used to say the press shouldn’t be protected too much with sulfur!

On 2017:
It’s nice to have a bit of volume on the cellar – eventually think the quality should be exceptional though. ​We try to work with 4 vintages in stock, fortunately the 2017 vintage allows us to improve the position as we were down to only two vintages.

On 2016:
In 2016 we were ‘only’ 38% down in volume, and that was mainly smaller appellations. Whites are normally 20% of the domaine but it’s more like 10% in 2016 as we lost Bourgogne and Aligoté… It meant that there was the chance to clean one cellar as there was no wine in it last year! For me the wines are a little like 2010, no aggression, easy to drink.

And on pricing:
Our prices went up 1 euro for the 2015s and another euro for the 2016s – we like to think that we are reasonable!

The wines…

Not the easiest wines to taste at this stage in their elevage, but there are fine things to be found here – and good values too – it has been like this for a long time at this domaine.

​2016 Ladoix
Made from 3 parcels of vines, in tank now for nearly a month.
Ooh that’s really a deep nose. The palate is also rather deep, framed with a little prickle of tannin and slowly mouth-watering flavour. Faintly saline, this is very concentrated though only about 10% was lost.

2016 Aloxe-Corton
Hmm this is a much fresher nose – really more attractive today. Full again, the same framing with a modest tannin. The last drops in the glass smell really lovely. These first two wines are for keeping a while but this is very attractive.

2016 Ladoix 1er Les Basses Murottes
Deep, dark red fruit with a little floral. This is another step up in open, beautiful fruit, the tannin on a lower level. Simply a delicious 2016 – very yum!

2016 Ladoix 1er Le Bois Rousseau
Here the nose is a little tighter, more central. Open, lithe, melting, pretty flavour, more floral-inflected. The Basses is finer, but this tastes very well.

2016 Ladoix 1er La Corvée
Here the nose is just a little more intense, almost volatile but it’s only just been racked into tank. Hmm, this has excellent shape and texture. A little more structured.

2016 Aloxe 1er Cru
A blend of Les Fournières 20% and the rest from Les Paulands, just below the Corton section. “Now pruning Guyot-Poussard which helps with depth and sucrosity I think.”
A really nice width of fine aroma. More volume and impact, the style of an almost savoury saline tannin towards the end – really a fine combination.

2016 Corton Bressandes
Really a fine nose – depth but also freshness of dark fruit. Supple, really, really concentrated. This is a big Corton, tight finishing, long and with density in the finish. Great stuff!

2016 Corton Les Hautes Murottes
More freshness of aromatic, pretty fruit below. Supple, layered, fresh, really a fine combination of energy and deliciousness – a structured wine though, don’t get any early drinking ideas. Lovely…

Les Blancs:
Aligote and Bourgogne Blanc – no cuvées in 2016. These whites bottled after the harvest.

2016 Ladoix
Was once a mix of three parcels. Since 2015, Hautes Murottes has been separated, and since 2016 Basses Murottes too. This from la Blancharde and Les Vris
It’s a small glass and a small nose but there’s a pretty spice here. Supple, nice weight, melting fresh flavour. Faintly saline in the finish. Lots of weight and really an attractive flavour – yum!

2016 Ladoix 1er Hautes Murottes
A little more depth of fresh aroma – certainly more attractive. Fresh, bright, energetic but with sucrosity too. Delicious wine of character, waves of pretty almost mineral flavour. Excellent wine. €35 isn’t cheap but this is certainly very tasty…

2016 Ladoix 1er Basses Murottes
Ooh – this has a nose to match most Charlemagnes. In the mouth it’s mineral and intense, but with no hard edges, long, mineral finishing too – here it could use an ounce more sucrosity but it’s really a super thing. Very yum!

2016 Corton-Charlemagne
These last three wines are all very close geographically, but not so from the taste. To finish, this, also from Hautes Murottes. Lots of demi-muids now with this wine
Actually the nose is less open and overt than the Basses, but there is a certain density here not found in that wine. More weight, more supple, deep concentration, layers of relaxed muscle, really a grand cru difference – slowly lingering… Very good, even for this great vintage. A hint of tannin in the finish…

And to finish…

2007 Corton Hautes Murottes
Oh wow, what a really forward and inviting fruit! In the mouth the the structure is forward but behind is a fine fruit that is, surprisingly, almost says ready.

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