2015 Domaine Raveneau Chablis les Butteaux 1er Cru

Year: 2015
Appellation: Chablis
Country: France
Wine Advocate: 95
Vinous Media: 91-93
Burghound: 91
White Wine
Alcohol by Volume: 13.0%
Price :
$200.00

"The 2015 Chablis 1er Cru les Butteaux escaped any damage by hail and is, in Isabelle’s opinion, the most classical and Chablis-like, whereas other wines express the growing season. It has a pretty, perfumed, perhaps exotic bouquet compared to the other cuvées this year and is very expressive, with apricot blossom emerging with time. The palate is very well balanced with a precise line of acidity and, again, is very expressive with a shimmering, quite captivating finish that exudes both mineralité and fruit intensity. This has turned into an outstanding Butteaux that punches above my prediction from barrel." (WA)

"Pale yellow. Subtly complex aromas of quinine, lemon, mint and crushed stone; even more minerally than the Monteé de Tonnerre. Offers the most inner-mouth tension by far to this point, showing a sharply chiseled quality to its grapefruit and mineral flavors. ("This site does great in warm years," noted Raveneau, as the portion of the vineyard at the rather flat top of the lieu-dit faces slightly northeast.) Fined-grained, dry and classic, but with the richness of the vintage." (VM)

"An elegant and pure nose is notably ripe but evidences ample classic Chablis aromas that include pear, white flower and tidal pool hints that are also trimmed in enough wood and menthol characters to warrant noting them. The rich and vibrant flavors possess good volume and muscularity before concluding in a clean, dry and mildly austere if slightly warmer finish. Like the Montée de Tonnerre this is an excellent 2015 1er and worth considering - plus it should age well." (BH)

Winery Notes:
The most sublime and the most celebrated estate of Chablis, the wines of Domaine Raveneau are a rare find—exceptional because the vineyard holdings are almost entirely made of grand cru and premier cru fruit, painfully finite as so few are produced, outstanding because of their tremendous quality and consistency, and unusual given the modesty of the vignerons who create these world-class wines.

The domaine was created in 1948, when François Raveneau consolidated his holdings with his wife’s family’s vineyard parcels. Though his father had spent years selling off prime parcels, François was doing his best to bring new ones back into the hands of the domaine. The reputation of this elusive and somewhat stoic vigneron spread quickly, as his style was easily recognizable as far superior to the growing trend of innocuous, somewhat uniform Chardonnay. The domaine’s production has always been miniscule, and Kermit fought in vain throughout the seventies to add these wines to his portfolio. As an ardent practitioner of natural wines, François was extremely skeptical about shipping overseas, fearing that the wines might suffer during the ocean voyage. Assured by friends that Kermit was very familiar with natural wines and only shipped in refrigerated containers, François finally agreed (see Adventures on the Wine Route). The relationship started with the 1979 vintage and has continued solidly ever since. Today, François’ sons, Bernard and Jean-Marie, direct the domaine, yet stay true to their father’s philosophy in both the vineyards and the cellar.

The Brothers Raveneau are a dream team. They carry the family torch with pride, yet with a reserve, pragmatism, and humility that is more likely found among true farmers than the artists they are. There is no set division of labor between the brothers, just “all hands on deck,” as each one brings his own expertise to the mix. Jean-Marie attended the Lycée Viticole in Beaune, and has been with the domaine since 1978. In 1995 when François retired, Bernard finally joined his brother at the domaine after years of working for a négociant. Together, they farm nearly eight hectares of land, including three grand cru vineyards (Blanchot, Les Clos, and Valmur) and six premier crus (Montée de Tonnerre, Les Vaillons, Butteaux, Chapelot, Mont-Mains, and Forêt). In a cool climate like Chablis, vines find their strength in the rich clay and chalky limestone of the Kimmeridgian chain.

From vine to glass, the Raveneaus continue to do things the old-fashioned way. Although François passed away in 2000, Bernard’s daughter, Isabelle, joins them today, assuring fans that Domaine Raveneau will continue into the next generation.


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