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LolaDC

Did Shipping Ruin It? There's a Hole and Leaking Wine in my Raveneau Chablis Capsule.

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Hi, everybody. I'm relatively new to this forum -- have posted a few times and am really enjoying this bunch. It's so nice to know there is a thriving food and wine community here in Washington, and it's even nicer that you all know a lot more about this stuff than I do. It's a great place to learn.

While this question may make me sound like a complete idiot, I swear I actually do know a thing or two about wine. This particular situtation is unfortunate and I am trying like hell to figure out how my assumptions might be incorrect. I'm in denial, and hoping you all can help me.

A really lovely friend of mine has been raving about Raveneau Chablis, which I have never tried. Because he is so lovely, he shipped a bottle to me this week with a very nice note about how much he wants me to try it and how he is looking forward to my reaction and detailed tasting notes.

Here's the problem -- when the wine arrived at my door, the wax seal protecting the cork had a small crack in it, and it was apparent that some wine had escaped. My brain is telling me that the wine is probably ruined. But I REALLY want to be wrong. I know the only way to be sure is to crack the sucker open and give it a try. But I'm interested to know if anyone has had this sort of thing happen and had the wine turn out OK.

To follow -- if it's not OK, does anyone know where I might be able to get a replacement bottle? The distributor that supplies my usual wine shop does not carry Raveneau, and I don't have the heart to tell my friend the wine he was so excited to send me was bad. And I obviously can't give him detailed tasting notes without actually trying it.

Thanks everyone. Sorry this was so long...

Lola

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Your friend may be a mensch (and one with expensive tastes, for sure), but he's made a grave error. Shipping wine in the summer is highly problematic under the best of circumstances, and last week was hardly the best of circumstances (even hotter than normal).

There is about a 125% chance that the wine your friend shipped you has been heat-damaged. Even if the cork hadn't popped, the wine would probably have tasted washed-out, roasted, and soupy.

As a member of "the biz," I fret constantly about people who do not understand heat damage and cork taint; sadly, I think your friend is in at least one of these camps.

Edited to read: As for a replacement, I doubt any distributor would replace such a bottle, as it was mishandled by the final buyer (your friend). As for buying a replacement bottle, there's not a lot of Raveneau in this market. New York has more (though, obviously, don't try to ship it in this weather).

Edited by jparrott

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Shipping wine in August is never a good idea. It sounds like the wine cooked during shipment, and I suspect that it will not taste very good. But it won't kill you to give it a try.

Which Raveneau Chablis is this? Francois Raveneau produces a number of different Chablis. You may want to contact MacArthurs to see if they carry it. They have the best Burgundy selection in the city.

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Shipping wine in August is never a good idea.  It sounds like the wine cooked during shipment, and I suspect that it will not taste very good.  But it won't kill you to give it a try. 

Which Raveneau Chablis is this?  Francois Raveneau produces a number of different Chablis.  You may want to contact MacArthurs to see if they carry it.  They have the best Burgundy selection in the city.

Thank you Jake and Sthitch for your insight, even though you didn't give me the answers I wanted. :P

The bottle in question is a 2000 Raveneau Chablis Premier Cru Montee de Tonnerre. I am fully prepared to purchase a replacement bottle if this one is bad, and if I can find it anywhere. I will certainly check MacArthurs.

Thanks again!

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Thank you Jake and Sthitch for your insight, even though you didn't give me the answers I wanted.  :P

The bottle in question is a 2000 Raveneau Chablis Premier Cru Montee de Tonnerre.  I am fully prepared to purchase a replacement bottle if this one is bad, and if I can find it anywhere.  I will certainly check MacArthurs.

Thanks again!

I think you will be out of luck trying to find a replacement bottle as they only imported about 200 cases. It is too bad that the bottle got cooked as it is a spectacular wine that is just getting ready to drink (and fairly expensive.) If it is in good condition it should be very good, full bodied with the appropriate minerally Chablis flavors with honey and enough acidity to age for years.

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Just to close the loop on this (in case any of you are losing sleep...ha ha ha) -- I opened the Raveneau this weekend and it was absolutely superb! If the contents of this particular bottle had been in any way damaged, I can't imagine what a perfectly intact bottle must taste like. It was really an experience. For those who are able to get their hands on it, I highly recommend it.

Best to all,

Lola

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I am happy to hear it turned out well. I had a couple of wonderful Chablis this weekend, so I did actually wonder if you opened the bottle.

Now make sure to tell your friend that in the future he is no to ship wine in August.

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Just to give you a retailer's perspective on availability....

Raveneau is imported by Kermit Lynch, in Berkley, California. He is the importer of record.

The local distributor (for D.C.) for Kermit Lynch has a TINY allocation of Raveneau each year, and it is restaurant-only. Our good friend Mr. Slater at Citronelle is likely the primary recipient.

I've seen Raveneau at one other D.C. wine shop, and it curiously lacked any import labels, which leads me to believe that it was "grey-marketed" into the U.S. Caveat Emptor, indeed.

Glad to hear that your bottle turned out so splendidly. He is definitely THE guy in Chablis. I'm happy to "settle" for Jean Dauvissat, though :P

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Just to give you a retailer's perspective on availability....

Raveneau is imported by Kermit Lynch, in Berkley, California.  He is the importer of record.

The local distributor (for D.C.) for Kermit Lynch has a TINY allocation of Raveneau each year, and it is restaurant-only.  Our good friend Mr. Slater at Citronelle is likely the primary recipient.

I've seen Raveneau at one other D.C. wine shop, and it curiously lacked any import labels, which leads me to believe that it was "grey-marketed" into the U.S.  Caveat Emptor, indeed.

Glad to hear that your bottle turned out so splendidly.  He is definitely THE guy in Chablis.  I'm happy to "settle" for Jean Dauvissat, though  :P

Thank you so much for the information. This is very good to know. I haven't gotten this worked up over a wine in quite some time, so it's nice to have friends "in the know" who can point me in the right direction. Citronelle, here I come! :wub:

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Just to close the loop on this (in case any of you are losing sleep...ha ha ha) -- I opened the Raveneau this weekend and it was absolutely superb!  If the contents of this particular bottle had been in any way damaged, I can't imagine what a perfectly intact bottle must taste like.  It was really an experience.  For those who are able to get their hands on it, I highly recommend it.

Best to all,

Lola

I guess this goes to show you - when in doubt - drink it.

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Another wondeful Chablis producer is Moreau Naudet which is still available from the distributor (Bacchus).

Thank you for the suggestion -- I see you have the Moreau Naudet on your wine list. I shall make a point to pop in one day soon and give it a try.

Lola

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What perfect timing in finding this thread as I had the same problem about a month ago. I have a bottle of Modicum Cabernet Sauvignon that started leaking after sitting in the trunk of my rental car.

What is so heart breaking is that the wine was given to my wife and I as a gift from Thomas Keller. :P I still have not opened it.

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Modicum?  Per Se?  Mr Keller's awfully Latinate these days...

Modicum is the private label cabernet used by the French Laundry. It is sort of their "house wine". It's pretty tasty, too!

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Just to give you a retailer's perspective on availability....

Raveneau is imported by Kermit Lynch, in Berkley, California.  He is the importer of record.

The local distributor (for D.C.) for Kermit Lynch has a TINY allocation of Raveneau each year, and it is restaurant-only.  Our good friend Mr. Slater at Citronelle is likely the primary recipient.

I've seen Raveneau at one other D.C. wine shop, and it curiously lacked any import labels, which leads me to believe that it was "grey-marketed" into the U.S.  Caveat Emptor, indeed.

Glad to hear that your bottle turned out so splendidly.  He is definitely THE guy in Chablis.  I'm happy to "settle" for Jean Dauvissat, though  :P

I used to have access to Raveneau each year, but the distributor has started playing tie-in with it. You have to buy so much other wine from Kermit before they will sell you any Raveneau or Coche-Dury. I don't play that game. Dauvissat, Charles Fevre, Louis Michel and Moreau-Naudet are much easier to get.

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Dauvissat, Charles Fevre, Louis Michel and Moreau-Naudet are much easier to get.

But are they as good? :P

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I used to have access to Raveneau each year, but the distributor has started playing tie-in with it. You have to buy so much other wine from Kermit before they will sell you any Raveneau or Coche-Dury. I don't play that game. Dauvissat, Charles Fevre, Louis Michel and Moreau-Naudet are much easier to get.

I'm sure he didn't have any trouble finding someone to play the game. When only 200 case of a great wine are imported, there are costs to being able to get some. That's what the market is all about.

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On 8/22/2005 at 6:40 PM, bilrus said:

I guess this goes to show you - when in doubt - drink it.

Lately, the mantra has been, "When in doubt, auction it."

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