Domaine Gérard Raphet
Supplier/Importer: North Berkeley Imports
Region: Burgundy, France
Appellations: Morey St Denis, Chambolle Musigny, Clos de la Roche
The wines of Gérard Raphet are a Burgundy lover’s Burgundy. While the wine’s color in the glass is a delicate ruby, aromas and flavors surprise with their forceful intensity. This contrast often catches the uninitiated off guard, yet it is part of the attraction and seduction of these limited and highly sought-after wines.
Indeed of all our Burgundy partners, Raphet inspires the most emotion when trying to describe what exactly makes these wines so captivating. Raphet Burgundy surprises and delights; it opens the possibilities of what great, old-vine Burgundy can do, and just how intimate and special that experience can be.
We first started working with the Raphet family decades ago, when Gérard’s father Jean was at the helm. Our tastings would often evolve into a long chat in the family kitchen over a couple of bottles, unlabeled, vintages such as 1978 and 1985 hand-scrawled on the glass.
No Raphet ever went to enology school; winemaking as family tradition has been passed from father to son through four generations. There’s no pontificating, no philosophy—just the rhythm of a day that starts before sunrise, the years of history absorbed in each gnarled, 100-year-old vine, and the handful of barrels stashed in a dark cellar underneath the family home.
Gérard took over the domaine in 2005 with his wife Sylviane, and today, it’s their daughter Virginie who helps out in the cellar and fields. Gérard is modest, almost shy, preferring the majesty of his old-vine Pinot Noir to “do the talking.” And talk it does, from the exuberant aromas of young wine to the suave silk of cellared bottles, some 10 to 20 to even 30 years on. Our cellars have a special corner for Raphet Burgundy, and so should yours.
FARMING & WINEMAKING
Raphet Burgundy is handmade from field to bottle, with a rhythm and method that hasn’t changed in four generations. Vines are on average very old, with many vines over 100 years. Harvest is done by hand, and grapes are fermented on indigenous yeasts in tank and then aged for some 18 months in a mix of new and older French oak barrels. Wines are bottled unfined and unfiltered.
With the help of winemaker Gérard Raphet, North Berkeley Imports selects certain complete barrels of wine to import under theexclusive label, “Cuvée Unique.”