2002 Raveneau Chablis 1er Montée de Tonnerre

2002 Raveneau Chablis 1er Montée de Tonnerre

2002 Raveneau Chablis 1er Montée de Tonnerre

Wine has memory….most immediately it is a memory of the previous growing season…of Winter rains and storms, of sun-filled days and scented breeze. Of course this memory can be obscured by the winemakers thumbprint and inputs once the raw material reaches the cellar, but the best producers always seem to stand back a little more and give their baby some space.

But a wines memory runs deeper still…..in this case a vague recollection of an inland sea, rich in sea-shells and fossils….one fossil found in abundance here is the comma-shaped, little oyster…. Exogyra vigula….this inland sea formed the famous Kimmeridgian Chain.

I like how James E. Wilson describes the viticultural regions within the Kimmeridgian Chain as “wine islands” in his fantastic book “Terroir”.

These wine islands, cut adrift geologically from their parent regions are the Aube in Champagne, Pouilly-sur-Loire & Sancerre in the Loire and of course Chablis. The Chardonnay grape sings with perfect pitch in the chalky, fossil-rich marls of Chablis….the memory of this ancient inland sea is indelible, a stony, mineral-laden double-helix that crackles through the wine….it is the essence of Chablis. The dangers to this essence are the much documented woes of machine harvesting within the region, excess new oak and heavy-handed winemaking……if there is one region where stepping back a little is required, it is here.

The domaine of François Raveneau was formed in 1948 when François consolidated his vineyard holdings with those of his wifes family…..who just happened to be a Dauvissat….lineage dear reader…..lineage. In the past François father, Louis Raveneau had sold the fruit off his vineyards to other estate and in the 1950′s he had sold a number of his vineyard parcels due to hard times during a downturn. François managed to reacquire some parcels, including several Grand Cru plots during the 1960′s and 1970′s due to lower land prices.

François retired in 1988 and sadly passed away in 2000….today the estate is run by his sons, Jean-Marie Raveneau, who took over the winemaking duties in 1984 and his elder brother Bernard Raveneau, who joined the domaine in 1995. There is just under eight hectares in the domaine these days. Three Grand Crus….Blanchot, Les Clos, and Valmur and six Premier Crus….Montée de Tonnerre, Les Vaillons, Butteaux, Chapelot, Mont-Mains, and Forêt. From the 2007 vintage, there is also a village wine released from a recently purchased 0.95 ha block on the opposite side of the Vaillons slope.

The domaines Montée de Tonnerre is considered by many to be the benchmark for the region……articulate and filigreed with amazing detail and with that sapid, sour malic twang that is so often missing in good Chablis. There is a good promotion argument for Monty…..I reckon if any parcels within the Chablis region deserved to be upgraded to Grand Crus status, Montée de Tonnerre would probably have the best chance, followed closely by Fourchaume and maybe Mont de Milieu.

The fruit at Domaine François Raveneau is all harvested by hand, pressed gently and fermented using natural yeasts. Fermentations take place in stainless steel before aging for 12-18 months in old oak with an average age of 7-10 years.

Medium pale straw in colour with an enchanting nose of citrus over stone. Lemon predominately with hints of apple, beeswax, petrichor, dried honey, lemon curd, citrus rind, crushed seashell, slate, flint, white flowers and light notes of grilled nuts. It is a beautiful smelling wine……mesmerising ….. a siren of stone luring the drinker into the glass.

Such a complete wine on the palate….again lemon, lime, dried honey and beeswax appear with hints of oatmeal, sea spray, wet stone, chalk, nougat, grilled nuts, dried flowers, seashells, flint and marzipan. Beautiful presence, cadence and texture…..just starting to loose the nervy exuberance of youth and strum in a minor key. It is positively dripping with minerality, displaying poise and impeccable balance with a seemingly endless finish that fans out like a peacocks tail showing nuance of stone and meal. Please sir…..can I have some more.

Price: $150 – Closure: Cork – Alcohol: 13% – Source: Dinner Guest – Importer: Domaine Wine Shippers

I was listening to Johnny Cash as I wrote this note…..one song in particular, like this wine gave me goosebumps

Please sir....can I have some more

Please sir....can I have some more

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8 Responses to “2002 Raveneau Chablis 1er Montée de Tonnerre”

  1. Andrew Graham
    August 2, 2011 at 9:38 pm #

    Superb note. One of your best.

    I had this in a mini vertical a few years ago and loved every drop of it. Wish I could afford it drink it more often…

    • Dave
      August 3, 2011 at 1:20 am #

      Cheers Andrew….superb wines

  2. Nick Stock
    August 2, 2011 at 9:49 pm #

    Great post, mouth watering read. Interesting to consider how prominent vintage (time) is in the discussion surrounding French wine (and of course Italy, Spain, Germany, Austria etc) – it always sets the tone.

    Opened a ’99 last week for a friend’s birthday and it was thrilling – these wines open slowly at first then roar into scintillating, pure and powerful shape.

    • Dave
      August 3, 2011 at 1:21 am #

      Thanks mate….true…it does always set the tone.

  3. Daniel Hanna
    August 2, 2011 at 10:37 pm #

    Beautifully written piece. We lined up 2004 – 2007 inc at a tasting for clients recently. Show stopping. Real vintage variation as one would expect. Managed to save a couple of glasses (very small I’m afraid) for lunch the following day too, and they were still showing beautifully despite dreadful overnight storage. Won’t be selling all of it….

    • Dave
      August 3, 2011 at 1:22 am #

      Thanks very much Daniel….I was having a browse through your site today…might have to nab a couple off you at some stage.

  4. Stu
    August 3, 2011 at 2:56 am #

    Love the note. Has a sense of poetic beauty about it. Wish I had $150 sheets to drop now.

    • Dave
      August 3, 2011 at 3:39 am #

      Cheers Stu….well worth dropping some money on!