Domaine Ratapoil "Trotte Menu" Cotes du Jura Chardonnay/Savagnin 2018
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Direct Press Selection | June 2022
This is an exciting find for our Direct Press members. Raphael Monnier's wines are nearly impossible to find outside a few limited channels in the US. They are called Ratapoil —roughly meaning 'hobbyist winemaker' in local parlance — because Raphael was a history and geography teacher when he started this project in 2009 and for many years after. For the 10 years prior Raphael worked for the natural Jura winemaker Jean-Baptiste Menigoz at Domaine Bottes Rouges. The Ratapoil wines come from about five hectares of vines mostly in Arbois, worked organically from the start, with the help of Raphael's partner Marie Bourdon. The goal is simply to cultivate healthy grapes that need little in the way of intervention once they are in the cellar. Sometimes a small amount of sulfur is used if absolutely necessary, though there is none added to this wine.
"Trotte Menu" is a blend of Chardonnay and Savagnin from marl soils in Buvilly. This is made ouillé, or topped-up, meaning it doesn't have the intensely nutty quality of some Jura wines. Instead it's a nervy, zippy wine with earthy ginger and bruised apple notes. The bracing edge of this wine will soften a bit with some air and reveal some softer creamy notes. The subtle texture and tangy cut of this wine makes it vibrant and fine-tuned, reminding me of the style of wines from another Arbois producer, Bruyère & Houillon, which is even harder to find than Ratapoil. There's a tension between the elegant and untamed elements of this wine that I particularly like. Jonathan Kemp