Domaine Gérard Raphet, Grand Cru “Clos de la Roche” Vieilles Vignes
Domaine Gérard Raphet, Grand Cru “Clos de la Roche” Vieilles Vignes

Domaine Gérard Raphet, Grand Cru “Clos de la Roche” Vieilles Vignes

Burgundy, France 2021 (750mL)
Regular price$220.00
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Domaine Gérard Raphet, Grand Cru “Clos de la Roche” Vieilles Vignes

Our fleeting ’21 Raphet lottery continues with a one-barrel selection of Grand Cru “Clos de la Roche!” That single barrel breaks down to 25 cases for America, and although we only have a few of them, you won’t find this collectible priced better anywhere else (if you can find it at all!).


I’d even argue that Domaine Gérard Raphet’s exceptional cuvée is “affordable” when considering their neighbors routinely charge $300, $500, even $1,000+. To add insult to injury, those lofty price ceilings are guaranteed to rise when more ’21s are released. Truly, quantities are that scarce: Yields were halved across the board for many producers, and the fact that a third of Raphet’s vines in “Clos de la Roche” were planted over a century ago—which further decreases output—we’re lucky they emerged with any wine at all! The limited end result is a stupendously elegant Grand Cru Pinot Noir of natural restraint. Says Jancis Robinson: “Connoisseurs who treasure the delicacy and perfume that used to distinguish red burgundy will find 2021 particularly to their liking.” If that sounds like you, secure a few bottles with haste.


In my wine-tasting travels, I often find that the personality of a wine is closely tied to that of its maker—but in Raphet’s case, the sheer opulence of his wines doesn’t align with his humble, taciturn personality. This is someone who truly lets the wine do the talking, and his tiny domaine, which he runs with his wife, Sylviane, and their daughter, Virginie, doesn’t have anywhere near the name recognition it deserves. I’ll say this, though: We’ve done our part to spread the good word about Raphet. Regardless of which tier of the Burgundy pyramid they’re working in, they over-achieve, whether it’s their Bourgogne Rouge, his enviable collection of Premier Crus, or one of his old-vine Grand Crus like today’s rare offering.


Raphet’s ace in the hole is his family’s collection of seriously old vines (vieilles vignes), some of which have now surpassed the century mark: His few rows in Grand Cru “Clos de la Roche” are planted on the upper slope, near Clos Saint-Denis, and boasts vines planted in 1982 and 1920! The single barrel from which our parcel originates comes largely from their oldest plantings. These gnarled trunks are farmed sustainably and yields, again, were extremely low in 2021. 


Working in their small cellar, which is attached to their nearby family home in Morey-Saint-Denis, the Raphets ferment their hand-harvested fruit on ambient yeasts in tank. The finished wine was transferred into 20% new French oak for 18 months, then bottled unfined and unfiltered. 

Domaine Gérard Raphet, Grand Cru “Clos de la Roche” Vieilles Vignes
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France

Bourgogne

Beaujolais

Enjoying the greatest wines of Beaujolais starts, as it usually does, with the lay of the land. In Beaujolais, 10 localities have been given their own AOC (Appellation of Controlled Origin) designation. They are: Saint Amour; Juliénas; Chénas; Moulin-à Vent; Fleurie; Chiroubles; Morgon; Régnié; Côte de Brouilly; and Brouilly.

Southwestern France

Bordeaux

Bordeaux surrounds two rivers, the Dordogne and Garonne, which intersect north of the city of Bordeaux to form the Gironde Estuary, which empties into the Atlantic Ocean. The region is at the 45th parallel (California’s Napa Valley is at the38th), with a mild, Atlantic-influenced climate enabling the maturation of late-ripening varieties.

Central France

Loire Valley

The Loire is France’s longest river (634 miles), originating in the southerly Cévennes Mountains, flowing north towards Paris, then curving westward and emptying into the Atlantic Ocean near Nantes. The Loire and its tributaries cover a huge swath of central France, with most of the wine appellations on an east-west stretch at47 degrees north (the same latitude as Burgundy).

Northeastern France

Alsace

Alsace, in Northeastern France, is one of the most geologically diverse wine regions in the world, with vineyards running from the foothills of theVosges Mountains down to the Rhine River Valley below.

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