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  • Country ranking ?

    1 417
  • Producer ranking ?

    27
  • Decanting time

    2h
  • When to drink

    2020-2035
  • Food Pairing

    Salads

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The Story

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.

 

Located near Auxerre in the department of Yonne, the Chablis vineyards lie along a little river aptly named the Serein (" serene "). Vines began to growth during the Roman era. In the 12th century, the Cistercian monks from the abbey of Pontigny developed its cultivation. The AOC Chablis Premier Cru was officially created in January 1938, thus confirming the excellent qualities of this dry white wine which, unlike the wines of some other regions, has held onto its excellent reputation throughout history thanks to the exceptionally high quality of its raw material - the Chardonnay grape.

Premier cru:No French wine-growing area has pinned its faith more firmly on the facts of geology. The main substrata is Jurassic limestone (specifically, Kimmeridgian limestone) laid down some 150 million years ago. The rock contains deposits of tiny fossilised oyster shells which remind us that Burgundy once lay beneath a warm ocean. The Premier Cru " Climats " lie on either side of the River Serein which runs through the vineyards from south to north, but the most highly thought-of Premiers Crus lie on the right bank, enclosing the Grand Cru terroirs which also lie on that side of the river. Chablis: The rock contains deposits of tiny fossilised oyster shells which remind us that Burgundy once lay beneath a warm ocean. Some particularly valuable " terroirs " produce the Premiers Crus. 

White Premier cru: pale gold in colour. To the nose, the full extent of its aromatic potential is not instantly apparent. It needs a little airing. This is a wine with good aging potential (5 or sometimes up to 10 years). Each " climat " has its own typicity, depending on soil and exposure. The wines are well-built and long in the mouth. The Premier Cru Chablis wines beguile the palate, whether mineral and tight in their youth or flowery and developing delicate and subtle aromas with age.


White Chablis: colour is rather light - pale gold or greeny-gold. Nose very fresh, lively and mineral with flint, green apple, lemon, underbrush and field mushroom. Notes of lime-flower, mint, and acacia occur frequently, as do aromas of liquorice and freshly-cut hay. Age depens the colour and adds a note of spice to the bouquet. On the palate, these aromas retain their freshness for an extended period. Perky and full of juice, it has an attack like an infantry charge. Long and likeable persistence leads to a smooth and serene finish. Very dry and impeccably delicate, Chablis has a unique and readily-recognisable personality. The name " Chablis " is widely usurped on all five continents by wines which have absolutely no right to it. Be forewarned: there is only one true Chablis.

Premier cru: Aromatically, the Premier Cru is highly complex and therefore highly adaptable. Good matches will include cooked oysters and fish in sauce. The more mineral versions of this wine can be served with fine poultry or veal in white sauce. The more open variations are a wonderful accompaniment to small tripe sausages (andouillettes) and the burgundian specialty of snails (escargots). This is a wine with real breeding, and also does justice to the local specialty of ham in Chablis (jambon au Chablis).

Serving temperature: 10 to 11°C

Chablis: White: this wine is a true boon to fine food. It can be enjoyed young (2-3 years old) with fish or poultry terrines, or with grilled or poached fish. It also goes well with asparagus, wich is normally difficult to match. Meanwhile, don’t forget exotic cuisine: it can handle curries or tandoori dishes and it also balances out the mellow and subtle textures of sushi. Or you could
simply drink it as splendid pre-dinner drink. It harmonizes well with goat cheeses, as well as Beaufort, Comté, or Emmental.
Serving temperature: 10 to 11°C

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Vintage 1998

1998 VINTAGE in Burgundy

The 1998 vintage was born under good auspices and has real potential. In spite of the occasional capricious weather conditions, the harvest has given us wines full of promise ? some fruity and seductive, others meaty and more structured.

After brief cold spells in January and February, the vines enjoyed temperatures above the seasonal average in March. This mild weather was interrupted by cold and rainy conditions in early spring. More clement weather returned in May and got growth off to a good start though, later, a slight drop in temperature slowed down the end of the flowering period. Odium broke out but did only local damage and overall the health of the vines remained satisfactory. The summer was on the whole hot and dry. Some limited hail damage occurred. Whilst scorching temperatures in August led to rapid colouring-up (vérasion) and a promising start to maturation. Rain in September was fortunately concentrated at the beginning and end of the month. By and large, harvesting took place in excellent conditions under sunny skies.

As always, the quest for optimum maturity was the key factor in deciding when harvesting should begin. The composition of the grapes was good nut the presence of botrytis gave rise in many cases to a need for sorting ? more or less rigorously according to situation. On the whole, average sugar content and acidity levels were both satisfactory. The ?ban de vendanges? was lifted the 10th of September confirming a somewhat precocious year.

At Domaine Latour, we began the harvest on Monday 21st and Tuesday 22nd and selected only those vineyards with more than 12° of natural sugar content.  The grapes maturity appeared to depend on the age of the vines, the older vines with stronger roots were the most resistant to the drought and therefore in the best condition.

During the period of good weather, the grape juice was re-concentrated. Over 80 percent of our crop was brought in between Monday 21st and Saturday 26th in perfect harvesting conditions. Such was the urgency to harvest before the rains returned, that all available personnel at Maison Latour were mobilised in addition to the harvesters, for the first time in twenty years. 

We were able to finish harvesting on Thursday 1st and Friday 2nd October, just before the weather pattern changed again. The careful selection of fruit in the vineyards and on selection tables at our winery ensured that only the very best fruit in the best possible condition went into the vat.

The red grapes that were harvested before the rains came, have good concentration and especially good colour. They have a firm tannic structure that will enable the wines to age gracefully, and the acidity is balanced, but not as high as in 1996. All of the fermentation?s this year were rapid which has helped to soften the wines, and retain that brilliant Pinot Noir colour.

 The white 1998s from Domaine Latour are great. Our Corton Charlemagne was picked before the rains came, under fantastic conditions, with sugar levels of between 12.5° and 12.8°. It will surely be a great wine that will benefit from some cellaring. A small crop was harvested from Chevaliers Montrachet Les Demoiselles due to damage caused by the late April frosts, these grapes were of great quality and in a perfect state of physiological maturity.

To sum up the 1998 vintage; the white wines are expressive and pleasing, notable for their elegance and agreeable acidity. For the  reds the colour is good and they have a balanced structure and well developed fruit underpinned by harmonious tannins, which bode well for their future.

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Latest Pro-tasting notes

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Written Notes

Towards lemon yellow. Minerals, very ripe lemons and very ripe yellow apples on the nose. A touch of nuts, scented and floral, some beeswax and a touch of honey. Fresh acidity, more wax or maybe rather fuller body, lovely balance. Elegant finish, long. 92

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Information

Origin

Chablis, Burgundy

Other wines from this producer

Chablis

Chablis Grand Cru Blanchot

Chablis Grand Cru Clos

Chablis Grand Cru Valmur

Chablis La Fôret Premier Cru

Chablis Montmains Premier Cru

Chablis Premier Cru Butteaux

Chablis Premier Cru Chapelot

Chablis Premier Cru Les Vaillons

Chablis Premier Cru Mont de Milieu

Raveneau Village

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