Until this year, the wines of Gerard Raphet remained unknown to me. I had heard of the producer, and the distinctive labels were familiar to me, having seen them popping up across Instagram (my insta feed is very wine-heavy), yet I hadn’t tried them myself. So when a Melbourne-based importer landed stock and offered us an allocation, I jumped at it.
Everything seemed to fall into place quite nicely. At first, I took a bottle of the Bourgogne Rouge home and thoroughly, thoroughly enjoyed it. And at its price, it’s an absolute steal, beating many wines that are much more expensive than it.
So having found plenty to like in the Bourgogne Rouge, I then progressed to the village Chambolle. Despite knowing that I was pulling the cork on a wine that is ideally drunk at 5+ years of age, I couldn’t help myself. I dropped it into a decanter and drank it over two nights in lockdown. I wasn’t disappointed and despite its youth, the wine is generous, charming and flowing. As I was drinking this, I flicked open my favourite wine magazine Noble Rot (issue 26) and landed upon an article on Chambolle Musigny titled ‘The Red, the White and the Grey’ by Melbourne-based wine importer Rob Walters. It was a lucky coincidence, and the article really resonated with me (perhaps this is easier when you happen to be holding a glass of the subject matter). I will leave it to you to seek the article out rather than retelling it here, but it was a perfect summation of the complexity of wine and the difficulties associated with trying to pigeonhole regions, grapes and styles.
Across both Raphet wines the style of the producer became evident. This, complemented by the generosity and approachability of the 2019 vintage, has resulted in a stunning set of wines from this producer. There is a plushness to both of these that offers succulence, sappy fruit, pockets of sweetness and swathes of elegance and class. They are not closed or restrained or necessarily in need of further cellaring, although the more oxygen you can give the Chambolle the better (if drinking it young). There is a ripeness to these wines that places them in a very comfortable position where they are bursting with energy without being excessively bold, and pleasingly, there are no suggestions of warmth or excessive extraction. The use of oak, despite Burghound’s comment below, seems restrained and well-handled. And finally, in no way at all has cellaring potential been compromised by providing early accessibility.
As soon as I returned to work following my weekend drinking Raphet, I bought another bottle to add to my cellar, as i’m dying to see where this wine goes with a bit of age. I’d encourage you to do the same…
In reference to the notes below from Burghound, I find his commentary a touch reserved and cautious. I found the wines to have so much life and energy about them. Granted, Allen Meadows is possibly judging them alongside some of the 1er Cru and Grand Cru wines from this producer, but I can happily exert a lot more excitement and enthusiasm upon readers surrounding Gerard Raphet and I strongly encourage you to buy these and drink them (while possibly burying a few deep in the cellar for years to come). – Ches Cook, FWC.