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Domaine Francois Raveneau Butteaux Premier Cru Chablis 2020

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    Domaine Raveneau is undoubtedly one of the most renowned estates in the Chablis region. Since its inception in 1948, the estate has been producing limited quantities of wines from the top vineyards in the village. François Raveneau, the founder of the estate, was a master of his craft, and his distinctive style and unwavering commitment to quality helped build the estate's reputation. Today, his son Jean-Marie Raveneau and his brother Bernard Raveneau continue to carry on the legacy of their father. The estate's holdings include three Grand Cru vineyards Blanchot, Les Clos, and Valmur along with a selection of Premier Crus, including Montée de Tonnerre, Les Vaillons, Butteaux, Chapelot, Mont-Mains and Forêt. Jean-Marie oversees the vineyards while Bernard manages the cellar, and their children, Maxime and Isabelle, are set to continue this division of labour. With its exceptional vineyards and a team dedicated to producing the highest quality wines, Domaine Raveneau remains a benchmark for Chablis wines.

    For Domaine Raveneau, the key to producing exceptional wines lies in the meticulous care given to their vineyards. The Raveneaus take a traditional approach to winemaking, doing everything by hand and keeping yields very low. The vines are pruned using the double Guyot method, and the fruit is often de-leafed on the shade side before harvest. Once the grapes are harvested, they are immediately pressed and settled for half a day. The fermentation process is carried out using indigenous yeast in stainless steel vats. After the alcoholic and malolactic fermentations are complete, the wines are racked off their lees and aged in used feuillettes, the traditional 132-liter barrels of Chablis, for 12-15 months. These barrels, which are seven to eight years old on average, gently open up the wine during the élevage without imparting new oak aromas or flavours. After the aging process, the wines are transferred back to stainless steel vats for 3-6 months before being bottled. The domaine often waits an additional 6 months after bottling before releasing the wines. Through this meticulous process, the Raveneau family produces wines that are a true reflection of the unique terroir of Chablis.

    Butteaux is a high-performing terroir and the southernmost of the three Premier Cru climats that make up the wider Chablis Montmains Premier Cru umbrella title. It has a steep slope and limestone-rich soils, producing powerful and steely Chardonnay-based wines with subtle characters of stone fruit and apple. Butteaux is regarded as the more structured and powerful wine, while Montmains is seen as the more mineral and Forêts is the complex intermediary. The southeast aspect of the slope is an important feature, giving a different expression of Chablis than the Grand Cru sites on the other side of the Serein river.

    Domaine Francois Raveneau Butteaux Premier Cru Chablis 2020 is a wine of exceptional quality, made from grapes grown on 1.50 hectares of 45-year-old vines. The terroir of Butteaux is unique and the old vines produce grapes of exceptional quality. The wine itself is a true reflection of the terroir, with a complex array of aromas and flavours. On the nose, Domaine Francois Raveneau Butteaux Premier Cru Chablis 2020 is fresh and lively, with notes of citrus, pear, and warm bread mingling with hints of iodine. On the palate, the wine is medium to full-bodied, with layers of concentrated fruit and racy acids. The chalky grip adds a unique texture to the wine, making it a true delight to drink. Overall, the Chablis 1er Cru Butteaux is a wine of exceptional quality that showcases the unique terroir of Chablis. The 45-year-old vines add depth and complexity to the wine.

    Butteaux is an older vineyard with an average age of around 45-50 years. Situated high on the hill, this is a cooler, windier site. It delivers a hint of pine tree and floral freshness on the nose. Very complex palate: savoury, saline, pristine and with a touch of orange-box from the oak. This has a marked, steely, cooler edge, which balances the generous volume in the mouth. It will undoubtedly last many years but is already disarmingly approachable. - Andy Howard, Decanter, 95 points

    The Finer Details
    Style - White Wine
    Varietal - Chardonnay
    Country - France
    Region - Chablis
    Vintage - 2020
    Bottle Size - 750ml
    ABV - 13%