Gerard Raphet owns or leases 30 acres in Burgundy’s Cote de Nuits. He officially took over the family domaine in 2002 when his father Jean Raphet retired, although Gerard had been in charge of the vineyards for many years. The domaine includes important Grand Cru parcels in Clos de Vougeot, Charmes Chambertin, Clos de Roche, Charmes Chambertin and Clos de Beze. There are also Premier Cru parcels in Gevrey-Chambertin and Morey-Saint-Denis. Clive Coates has written that the domaine’s wines are often “rich, full, plummy and succulent. Since Gerard has been in command, the yields have been tightened up, and the proportion of new oak increased.”
Côte de Nuits is the northern part of the Côte d’Or and it includes the most famous vineyards and wine communes in the world. There are more Grand Cru appellations in the Côte de Nuits than anywhere else in Burgundy. Of the fourteen communes, or villages in the Côte de Nuits, six produce Grand Cru wines. They are Gevrey-Chambertin, Morey-St.-Denis, Chambolle-Musigny, Vougeot, Flagey-Échezeaux and Vosne-Romanee. Some of the vineyards within the Côte de Nuits are tiny, which adds to their prestige. The fabled Grand Cru vineyard La Romanee is barely two square acres. Altogether there are twenty-four Grand Cru vineyards. The region takes its name from the village of Nuits-Saint-Georges. Côtes de Nuits produces mostly reds from Pinot Noir, and the wines have been in demand for centuries. During the 18th century King Louis XIV’s physician recommended that for his health the king only drink wines from Nuits-Saint-Georges. Like most of Burgundy, the soils of the Côte de Nuit can vary greatly from one vineyard to another, though most are a base soil of limestone mixed with clay, gravel and sand.
This red wine is relatively light and can pair with a wide variety of foods. The grape prefers cooler climates and the wine is most often associated with Burgundy, Champagne and the U.S. west coast. Regional differences make it nearly as fickle as it is flexible.