Releasing Treasures from the Cellar – Rapet’s 2002s

I vowed to hold some of these back, promising to release a few of these treasures from our honeymoon travels as these became closer to mature.  Now that I’ve been dipping into the cellar, I’d like to invite folks to travel back with us.  This is the story of one such day back in 2004:

This estate holds a very special place in my heart.  As you can see from the photo, it was a beautiful day when we arrived here for our tasting last Spring.  It reminded me so much of the time I spent in this tiny village of less than 200 people when I studied here at the L’Ambassade du Vin.  I couldn’t help myself, either, so we drove by my professor’s house just to reminisce some more.  But, as usual, he was out in the vineyards, so we continued on to our tasting.

This is probably my most favorite of the wineries on the Corton hill.  As you exit from the main route, the 74, you make a turn to your right, then another, before you enter the tiny hamlet of Pernand-Vergelesses, the “downtown” center, if you will, of the Grand Cru Corton hill.  During this time of year, the Spring, while there is work to do on the Hill, this is a ghost town.  Lunch?  Make the drive back to the main road, turn south and head to Beaune. 
        
Named Domaine Roland Rapet, after the current wine maker’s father, this important Domaine is now run by Vincent Rapet.  An estate for more than 2 centuries, this is where you turn for a history in great Cortons and Pernands.  And be certain that these men are perfectionists.  While we tasted with the son, Vincent, his father, Roland, as if we didn’t notice him, scurried about listening to our conversation.  A protecting, and very concerned figure, Roland is the most respected man in this part of Burgundy.  Make no mistakes in your vintage discussions, etc,  and you’re guaranteed a peaceful tasting with the clients…

During my studies here in the late 80s, this Domaine was where I learned the fine art of retaining a wine’s freshness.  Through bottling after one year in barrel, 30% of which are new, and avoiding filtration long before most wineries were brave enough to attempt that method, Rapet taught me the meaning of purity.  The terroir shows through here, every year.  There is no doubting when you stick your nose in the glass which of these treasures you’re smelling. 

2002 Roland Rapet Aloxe Corton:
Rapet
Pinot Noir Dry Red Table Wine
Aloxe Corton, Cote de Beaune, Burgundy, France

Review by Cepage Noir
E*Newsletter Winter 2009
Rating: 89 points
“An
Excellent wine with all the qualities expected of a near-outstanding rated wine.”
Drink: now+
        
        “When tasting this wine, it was hard to believe this was a village wine, as it showed impressive levels of wood spice and super ripe plummy notes.  On the palate, this is massive, masculine, tannic and very nearly as serious as the Ile de Vergelesses.  The fruit is thick, and the use of new wood is impressive.  I was seriously impressed with this much wine at this level.”
                — Cepage Noir
        

2002 Roland Rapet Vergelesses Ile des Vergelesses 1er Cru:
Rapet
A Pinot Noir Dry Red Table wine from
Les Vergelesses, Pernand Vergelesses, Cote de Beaune, Burgundy, France

Review by Cepage Noir
E*Newsletter Winter 2009
Rating: 90 points
“An
Outstanding wine worth your serious attention that will impress and offer memorable drinking experiences.”
Drink: now+
        
        “It is very important to note that this vineyard has been singled out and considered for elevation to Grand Cru status.  This island (Ile) of a vineyard faces due south east and is at a level of more than 900 feet, only a few feet from the Grand Cru Charlemagne!  THIS IS A MASTERPIECE! 
        
        There is an elegance here that exclaims “Grand Cru”.  With serious levels of perfume, ranging from pure violets to wild flowers, this is a beautiful wine.  More polished and majestic than the above, but with all the power as well.  My notes show that I went back to this again and again to experience the tight rope effect of power meeting finesse.”
                — Cepage Noir

2002 Roland Rapet Corton Grand Cru:
Rapet
A Pinot Noir Dry Red Table wine from
Les Vergelesses, Pernand Vergelesses, Cote de Beaune, Burgundy, France

Review by Cepage Noir
E*Newsletter Winter 2009
Rating: 93 points
“An
Outstanding wine worth your serious attention that will impress and offer memorable drinking experiences.”
Drink: now+
        
        “This speaks for itself.  But it requires time.  In fact, at the close of our tasting, Vincent, whose first vintage was 1985, pulled corks on a vertical of this wine.  He compared the wine to the 1990!  After tasting the 1990, I secured a half case of this vintage for my personal collection.  MAGICAL WITH AGE!
        
        This wine is amazingly concentrated and benefits from an additional amount of new wood this year: 50%.  Only in a year such as this and the 1990, Vincent reports, will the wine “accept” this much wood.  The palate is thick, oozing with fruit yet closed compared to what the future holds.  Buckets of sweet red and black fruits and a wood spice that makes this irresistible!  Big, structured, with a finish that lingers for a minute plus.”
                — Cepage Noir

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All the best!
Christopher Massie
Diplome D’Honneur de Sommeliere