TN: 1996 Raveneau Foret

this cost $50 way back when–Butteaux was $40 and Valmur $65; I don’t remember the price of Clos. Raveneau fills are ridiculously high; I’ve bought bottles that had no ullage–completely filled. You have to run them into an air-conditioned car and race home. (“Officer, but I didn’t want the Raveneau to leak . . .”) This bottle, bought on release, still touched the cork and it’s 14 years old. Opened tonight, at first there was a musty/sulfur smell that I mistook for being corked; after a few minutes, it disappeared, leaving a gorgeous still young and fresh Chablis. There’s plenty of ripe clean citrus fruit hanging from the wine, some green apple hints, all buttressed by a beautiful structure of acidity. The wine is quite intense and linear, yet expands on the palate, just dripping minerals. After swallowing, the wine continues to echo on the palate–it’s just fabulous still young Chablis–how it should be.

alan

Nice note. Love the Raveneaus. 85 Clos one of my favorite wines of the year.

Glad to see you occasionally imbibing midweek Alan…life is indeed short and we need to enjoy everyday however we can.

Wine sounds very nice indeed.

Tom

Thanks for the note. Sounds great.

Sigh, what a great feeling it is to have one of those wine moments.

Alan thanks for the nice note, I drank a 96 Valmur at lunch on Tuesday and it was really lovely and made me ponder the question of why no premox with old Raveneau? I took a 01 Ramonet BBM to Hawaii a few weeks back and it look terrible, a 01 Marc Colin the night after look amazing?
Thanks
MT

Great note. Sounds wonderful.

Cheers,
Doug

it’s a bigger question than that, Michael. Why no premox with anything pre-1995? Oh sure, there’s the occasional bad bottle, but nothing like the plague we’ve seen since then–and that has continued. I’m not sure the problem has been solved, as nobody is certain of the cause.

alan

Those were the days. Le Clos was always the most expensive. Blanchot and Valmur a little less. Now, the Clos is double the others!

Alan:

I hope you save some of those better 96 Raveneaus for night one of the Premox dinners. That’s going to be Feb 8 at Spago.

Eric:

For those that buy direct from Raveneau, that’s not true even today. Blanchots, Clos and Valmur are always priced either the same or within two Euros of each other. The differences you see in the pricing at retail are a function of added markup by retailers (or in the case of Kermit Lynch, the importer/wholesaler) based on perceived rarity/demand.

Most people also don’t realize that Kermit Lynch’s wholesale price on the Clos represents a nearly 300% markup vs. the cost direct from the estate.

I’ve always wondered whether the Raveneaus “realize” it…and, assuming they do, why they allow it to perpetuate.

Kermit Lynch is not alone…other importers and “authors” do the same. You do wonder when you talk to the winemakers/domaine owners how they feel about the situation. Some are frank to point out that they get none of the huge markup. But, you also have to wonder how their egos feel about the importers’ ability to gauge on their trophier wines.

One of the reasons, I think, that I’ve long preferred the first-cousin Dauvissat estates to Raveneau’s (though in candor I do prefer the less stylized wines of Dauvissat to those of the Lafons of Chablis) is that back in the U.S. , I can afford Dauvissat, and, therefore, am more familiar with them. Sort of reverse bias, maybe because of the U.S. pricing. (But, in general, my tastebuds are not big fans of highly sytlized versions of any white wines:e.g, Lafon, Coche, Raveneau, Zind-Humbrecht, Deiss-- all of whose US importers tack on a bonanza for themselves. Stylized red wines I can deal with better, I guess.

[cheers.gif]

I suspect if Kermit didn’t take the margin the wine would be flipped a lot more than it already is and there’d be a sea of Raveneau at auction.

Thanks for the note Alan.

Best Regards
Jeremy

For those that buy direct from Raveneau, that’s not true even today. Blanchots, Clos and Valmur are always priced either the same or within two Euros of each other. The differences you see in the pricing at retail are a function of added markup by retailers (or in the case of Kermit Lynch, the importer/wholesaler) based on perceived rarity/demand.

Most people also don’t realize that Kermit Lynch’s wholesale price on the Clos represents a nearly 300% markup vs. the cost direct from the estate.

Have not bought at Raveneau, but I believe the markup. I’ve bought a lot in Alsace, Germany, Italy, and Austria and 200-300% seems the norm.

Jeremy:

Interesting. A few years ago a retailer in Europe that sells a lot of wine to Americans told me that Raveneau was much more in demand from his US clients than his European clients and that he and his colleagues were able to make a very healthy markup on selling Raveneu to Americans precisely because Kermit maintained such an inflated price in the US. He suggested that demand from the American market was what was driving up the pricing levels in Europe. If you add to that the impact of Rare Wine Co buying up all of the older Clos they can find in Europe and then selling it at even more outrageous pricing, this has sort of created the perfect storm.

I must say that I love the Raveneau wines and while I love the Dauvissat wines as well, in side by side blind comparisons of the Clos, the Raveneau almost always wins (but not in 2002.)

Raveneau 1er Cru wines are still $50 here, not counting the sales tax.

where’s “here?”
alan