Bernard Raveneau
Photo Credit: Stephen Tanzer
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.Bernard Raveneau was a bit concerned about the level of reduction in some of the estate's 2004 cuvees, especially those from the left bank.He believes that this characteristic is due to the sulfur products that were used to stave off oidium."We didn't have our normal rains in September to wash off the residue."The result is that a few wines appear less pure today than they are likely to be when they are bottled next year.The Raveneaus did a severe debourbage but then left their wines on their lees longer than usual, without doing batonnage."The wines lacked flesh after the fermentations, but today they are an agreeable surprise," said Bernard.He finds them fleshier and suppler than the 2000s, which he has always considered to be slightly diluted owing to a weekend of rain just before the harvest.Yields in the two years were actually similar, he told me.Most of the 2003s were still in tank, recently filtered and awaiting bottling-a bit later than usual due to what Raveneau described as family issues and personnel problems.The 2003s here are quite promising.The Raveneaus picked early to retain freshness, believing that the fruit was ripe and the potential alcohols were sufficient.They then decided not to chaptalize, and the wines will carry alcohol levels of 12.4% to 12.8% in bottle."High alcohol levels would have accentuated the heaviness of the wines," noted Bernard.(Kermit Lynch, Berkeley, CA)

2004 Domaine Francois Raveneau Chablis Foret

Smoke, flint and a whiff of citrus skin on the nose. Fat and sweet, with citrus and quinine notes; a bit more pristine in the mouth than on the somewhat reduced nose. Dense for the vintage, and quite persistent on the aftertaste.


2004 Domaine Francois Raveneau Chablis Montmain

Pale, green-tinged color. Musky, slightly reduced aromas of lemon, lime and flint. Then rather tight and closed in the mouth, with subtly perfumedflavors of citrus fruits and minerals. Fresh finish hints at quinine.


2004 Domaine Francois Raveneau Chablis Vaillons

Pale, green-tinged color. Aromas of spearmint, spices and wet stone. Stony and precise in the mouth, but quite tight today and uncompromisingly dry. A classic low-fat style of 2004, with strong citrusflavors. Today this lacks charm, though.


2004 Domaine Francois Raveneau Chablis Butteaux

Pale, bright yellow. Very reduced aromas of pepper, snap pea and blond tobacco. Then dense, sweet and pliant, with lovely richness and generosity offlavor. Finishes rich and long, with an oily floral element. This wine finished with just under two grams of sugar-not a bad thing in a vintage like 2004.


2004 Domaine Francois Raveneau Chablis Montee de Tonnerre

Very pale, green-tinged color. Pure aromas of lemon, lime, grapefruit and crushed stone. Extremely pure and penetrating; at once dense and sharply focused, though not yet fat or pliant. A long, gripping, extremely young wine that will probably require at least four or five years of bottle aging to begin to unwind.

2004 Domaine Francois Raveneau Chablis Blanchots

(vinified in barrels, none of which were new) Pale yellow. Lemon, quinine and strong oak spice on the nose. Then sweet and wonderfully intense, with captivatingflavors of crystallized lemon peel, grapefruit, crushed stone and spring flowers. This offers a terrific mineral/acid/sugar balance and impressive and outstanding generosity of flavor andtexture for the vintage.


2004 Domaine Francois Raveneau Chablis Valmur

Pale green. Classic aromas of wet stone, gunflint, grapefruit and pepper. Fat and broad on the palate but youthfully unforthcoming. Larger-scaled and more horizontal than the Blanchots but much less expressive today. flavor dominated by wet stone. Finishes very long and uncompromisingly dry.


2004 Domaine Francois Raveneau Chablis Clos

Discreet, complex nose hints at grapefruit, quinine, anise, white flowers and powdered stone. Saturates the palate with liquid stone and white grapefruit. A grand cru with great precision, energy and lift. Finishes extremely long and pure, with notes of grapefruit and crushed stone. An early candidate for wine of the vintage.

2003 Domaine Francois Raveneau Chablis Foret

Aromas of lime and mint. Rich and chewy, with classicflavors of minerals, apple, pear and mint. A bit hardened today by the recent sulfiting.


2003 Domaine Francois Raveneau Chablis Vaillons

Pale, green-tinged color. Cool, very reserved aromas of powdered stone and menthol. Densely packed, concentrated and fresh, showing stony minerality and verve rare for the vintage. Finishes with a note of oatmeal. A terrific premier cru.


2003 Domaine Francois Raveneau Chablis Butteaux

Pale yellow. Pure aromas of lemon, spices and stone. Supple, round and silky, with very ripe but bright flavors of apple, pear and citrus fruits. Impressively fat, rich and seamless premier cru with excellent length. This was bottled the day before I tasted it but was not yet showing any evidence of shock.


2003 Domaine Francois Raveneau Chablis Montee de Tonnerre

Very pale, green-tinged color. Pure, reticent nose hints at cold steel and lime. Dense, sweet and vibrant, with enticingflavors of white peach, minerals and spring flowers. Finishes bright and very long, with an almost tannic impression of power.


2003 Domaine Francois Raveneau Chablis Valmur

More exotic aromas of grapefruit and lime oil. Fat and round in the mouth but distinctly closed today; comes across as less filled in than the Clos, and drier in style. This was a knockout from barrel a year ago, but today I find more texture than terroirBut then this was bottled on the morning of my visit.

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2003 Domaine Francois Raveneau Chablis Clos

(the Raveneaus produced a fairly normal crop level here of nearly 45 hectoliters per hectare) Pale yellow. Superripe aromas of white peach, spearmint and powdered stone. Fat, sweet, lush and full; a step up in volume from the premier crus. Thick and silky but lively, with a dominant flavor of wet stone.

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