2016 Domaine Raveneau Petit Chablis 1.5 L

Year: 2016
Appellation: Chablis
Country: France
Wine Advocate: 87
Vinous Media: 87-88
Burghound: 87
White Wine
Alcohol by Volume: 13.0%
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"A discreet but pretty nose of peach and citrus introduces the 2016 Petit Chablis, a medium-bodied, gourmand wine with glossy texture and a generous core of fruit. These young vines suffered in the frost, yielding a mere 15 hectoliters per hectare that attained 13% natural alcohol-not a common occurrence in this appellation, needless to say. Enjoy it in its vibrant youth.

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. I'll try to retaste them again at the end of the year if I can." (WA)

"(fermented in cuve): Pale yellow. Metallic minerality and brisk lemon on the nose. Juicy yet quite plush and rich; a remarkably dense, powerful style of Petit Chablis owing to hail, frost and a difficult flowering (the yield was just 15 hectoliters per hectare, according to Isabelle Raveneau). Not particularly complex but shows good lemony energy for an essentially soft wine." (VM)

"A whiff of wood serves as a relatively neutral backdrop for the mildly exotic pear, apple and ocean breeze-suffused nose. The rich and full-bodied flavors possess very good mid-palate density as well as solid length on the dry if ever-so-slightly warm bitter lemon-inflected finale that is slightly short." (BH)