Love that Raffault occasionally releases library wines. These 2004s in 375 hit the states last year or the year before, so I grabbed six of them. Was not certain of the vintage. Now I’m annoyed that I only grabbed six. Gosh is this wine soaring right now.
This is perfect, archetype Chinon. And this is why in @Julian_Marshall’s very important Loire CF ranking thread, I put this wine in First Growth. This wine is so savory, herbaceous, beautifully crisp - softly crisp if that makes sense - red fruits and some off-ripe dark plummy fruits. Full bodied but in a caressing, warm, soft way. Tannins perfectly integrated. Love the subtle barnyard and sweat notes, ferrous metals, that some mind find off-putting, I find this classic Loire CF from the days of old. It was 1989 and 1990 Raffault and Joguet that introduced me to this region. And i have never left.
We opened our last one, of four, this past Saturday. While the other three, all consumed in the past year, were singing just as you described, this one was DOA. I could tell when I pulled the cork that something was off, it just slid out too easily and with no resistance. Our last ditch effort was to hope the cellar funk would blow off, we opened a ‘19 Cantemerle out of 375 (for science) and let the Raffault sit for an hour before rechecking and deciding air wasn’t bringing the zombie back to life.
But a 75% hit rate still worked for me! The price to joy ratio was exceptional on these. A bonus being out of a 375 which we never seem to have enough of in stock.
Ha, just before you posted, I was just about to say that the first two that I popped, it is this third one that is truly singing. The first two were very good but not great. I’m never surprised by variability with a producer like this, and have experienced that with many other vintages of this producer. Given how well priced it is, and remains, I am totally fine, assuming the risk.
I straight up loved the '89 and '90. Went through ~eight of each vintage back when they were $70-$90 and widely available, three or four years ago.
Those wines were my introduction to the Loire in general and to aged cab franc in particular. Also the first wines that I then bought in any significant quantity.
I have probably 4 cases worth, spread across '02, '05, '08, '14, '15, '16 and a few bottles of '14 La Singuliere. The only disappointment so far was the single bottle of '08 I’ve tried. Everything else just fits right with my palate. Probably '05 showing best now IMO, and '14 the greatest potential for the future.
Sounds great! I’ve never tried the 04 - you’re right about the risk of a bad one considering the price, which at the time must have been under 10 euros. The mind boggles. Even today it sells direct for only 15 euros and more crazily, you can pick up some 2009 or 2010 for a mere 23 euros a bottle, which is a lot cheaper than the auction price.
In comparison, looking on the Joguet site, I see that they’re selling the Varennes 09 for 66 euros (knowing that it can be found quite easily at auction for half the price). Nuff said.
Robert, a wonderful note. It was notes like this from you and others on this board that made me try my first Loire red with any age - an ‘86 Olga Raffault Les Picasses at Pearl and Ash in NYC in 2016. I immediately fell in love.
Like you I’ve taken advantage of the library releases, sampling ‘90, ‘89, ‘85, ‘79 and a few others. I’ve yet to crack an ‘04, ‘07, or ‘14, but I’m looking forward to it. Thanks so much for turning me onto this wonderful wine and region.
Well it’s Dressner, so they’re likely to sell as much of those limited drops around NYC as possible. Our Dressner source rarely gets much in the way of cellar releases because they usually sell out, or come at a premium that makes them less appealing.