Domaine Raveneau • Chablis Grand Cru Clos 2016
95+ points - Robert Parker's Wine Advocate, August 2018
The 2016 Chablis Grand Cru Clos is the most reserved wine in the cellar, slowly unfurling with notes of lemon oil, spring flowers and wet stones, without ever revealing the full expression of fruit that will come with some time in bottle. On the palate, it's full-bodied, deep and powerful, with the most concentration, texture and extract of any wine in the cellar, structured around a succulent but soft line of acidity, the finish lent lift by subtle but mouthwatering grip. This will age on its concentration more than its acids, but it should develop very well in bottle.
What explains the Raveneau magic? Yields here aren't excessively high, but they're not the region's lowest. Fermentation at between 18 and 20 degrees centigrade in tank, followed by élevage on the lees in used barrels define the very elementary outlines of the winemaking process—a description that would equally apply to Vincent Dauvissat's stylistically different wines. The devil is, presumably, in the details. And it's a conundrum I'm content to ponder for the foreseeable future, as the Domaine Raveneau is undoubtedly the source of some of Chablis's greatest wines—and its most dependably long-lived. Isabelle Raveneau told me that the 2016s we tasted had been bottled in mid-April. In this vintage, yields were down 30% for the domaine as a whole, but yields varied considerably by location, from as little as 15 hectoliters per hectare in some sites to as much as 50 hectoliters per hectare in others. The wines vary in profile accordingly. At this early stage, the 2017s appear more homogeneous, classic but charming in style, marrying characteristically Chablisien cut and tension with a touch of sun-kissed generosity. I suspect they may end up resembling a hypothetical blend of the 2009 and 2010 vintages—but their quality and character will be more clear after more élevage.
- William Keeley
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