The Raveneau 2010 Chablis Valmur displays chalk dust and fusil notes, pit and pip piquancy, as well as strong underlying extract, in all of which respects it resembles the 2010 Montee de Tonnerre I tasted alongside. But what a site-driven divergence there is from that starting point! Here we experience the finesse of alluring aromatic adjuncts – lemongrass, iris, gentian and wintergreen – as well as mouthwatering suggestions of shrimp shell reduction and oyster liqueur; and the finish is both strikingly buoyant for its vintage and downright reverberative in an interactive manor especially familiar from this estate’s Les Clos. Look for excitement through 2030.
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.)
An utterly mesmerizing wine, the 2010 Chablis Valmur reaches dizzying heights of profoundness, with a stunning interplay of rich fruit and a host of more mineral, slightly reductive overtones that form a fabric of exquisite beauty. Time only does wonders for the 2010, a wine of simply extraordinary beauty, but its most satisfying moment arrives next to the embered tomato inside another tomato, where the explosion of aromas, flavors and textures is breathtaking.