Domaine Raveneau • Chablis Grand Cru Clos 2018
95 points - Robert Parker's Wine Advocate, August 2021
The 2018 Chablis Grand Cru Clos is superb, unwinding in the glass to reveal notions of citrus oil, white flowers and smoke mingled with hints of crisp stone fruit, pear and fresh bread. Full-bodied, layered and muscular, it's deep and nicely concentrated even in this abundant vintage, with lively acids and a long, saline finish.
Since my last visit to Domaine Raveneau, a generational transition has been quietly effected: Bernard Raveneau retired on January 1, 2020, replaced by his daughter Isabelle; and Jean-Marie Raveneau retired on May 1, 2021, replaced by his son Maxime. Neither plan to change a tried-and-tested formula, and both are intimately versed in the domaine's secrets, so the future is secure. Isabelle Raveneau was bottling the 2019 vintage when I visited, so I tasted bottled 2018s and 2020s from barrel with Maxime Raveneau in the cellars underneath the winery; reviews on those 2019s will appear in due course. The 2018 vintage is the largest crop here since 1982, and in the warm, sunny conditions, the Raveneaus chose to pick early, a decision they don't regret. It was necessary to purchase more new barrels than usual; but to minimize the impact of the oak, they fermented in the barrels, maturing the ensuing wine in tank, while wine that fermented in tank was matured in the new barrels. The result is a supple, giving vintage that will show well comparatively early—though, in typical Raveneau fashion, they're still quite tightly wound out of the gates: a vintage, then, to drink at age 10 rather than age 20. The 2020 vintage, at this early stage, is more concentrated and more incisive, with some stylistic parallels to 2017: wines, in other words, that I eagerly look forward to revisiting in bottle!
- William Keeley
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