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Average critic rating : 92.0 points
The Raveneaus’ 2011 Chablis Vaillons offers an infectiously juicy, invigoratingly bright, and exhilaratingly buoyant performance centered on grapefruit and Meyer lemon, with suffusion of chalk and salt as well as pungent and piquant impingements of citrus rind and green herbs heightening the stimulating effect of its sustained finish. As it opens in the glass this reveals a subtle and alluringly floral dimension. Look for mid-palate textural richness as well as yet more-nuanced complexity to emerge over the next 8-10 years, though in fairness to the other Raveneau 2011 crus it must be pointed out that this wine from 20-year-old vines may simply be further along in its evolution – despite having been recently bottled – than its immediate stable mates. ||There is something disconcerting about stepping from their old cellar into the vaulted, spare stone and concrete expanse that now houses most of Bernard and Isabelle Raveneau’s barrels, but I have no doubt that the spaciousness of this new arrangement will have its subtle, positive influence on quality at what many would peg as the foremost estate in Chablis. And while I try to refrain from mentioning coopers by name (and in all but rare instances – with French tonneliers, anyway – succeed), I would simply point out that a comparison of the older and more recent barrels at this estate encourages me in the belief that changes taking place in that department, too, will only enhance quality. Bernard Raveneau describes 2012 as affording “lovely acidity and equilibrium,” and I do not doubt that its fruits at this address will uphold a reputation for improving in bottle and avoiding the premature oxidation that confounds wine lovers’ hopes for even some renowned and youthfully impressive Chablis. (Since it applies to all of my reviews of Raveneau’s 2012s, I suggest consulting my explanation in the introduction to this report of just how I utilize “+?” in rating wines before bottling.) Wine Advocate.August, 2013
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