Tasted in Tonnerre with Raphaël Masson, 31 March 2021
Caveau: Route de Saint-Martin
Tel: +33 6 11 74 24 79
Raphaël Masson is the 2nd generation of his family here in the outskirts of Tonnerre.
Back in January, I’d tasted an excellent Petit Chablis from here (Cuvée Sur la Goulerotte), hence, wanted to make the appointment. Raphaël has about 1.5 hectares of Petit Chablis vines between Collan and Fyé – but of course, this is a domaine that’s more about Tonnerre.
Marsoif is a name taken to remember a 12th century Templars chapel in this area. Raphaël’s father planted vines here in the 1990s – an area of considerable repute in the time prior to phylloxera – but little was replanted afterwards. Raphaël has been here at this 10.5 hectare domaine since 2005. There are 3 hectares of whites – half of that being Petit Chablis – Bourgogne Rouge from Tonnerre and 2 hectares of Epineuil that was bought in 2008.
The domaine’s main market is France only a little is exported – to the US. Restaurants and salons are the important customers here so Raphaël is obviously hoping that business starts to improve over the coming months.
Raphaël on 2019:
“2019 was a lovely vintage for quality, though less lovely for volume – certainly after the volume of the 2018s. I think the 2019s are more for keeping – no surprise in that as there’s more concentration.”
Well-made and tasty wines of both colours. If you want to learn a little more about Tonnerre and Epineuil, this would be a good starting point…
There’s a different name for it here but Raphaël uses a grill to keep the cap submerged in his concrete tanks – just as they do in Beaujolais:
2019 Bourgogne Epineuil
Grapes from 4 parcels Epineuil, this cuvée mainly from 2 off the road to Trois; more clay than limestone here. 35-year-old vines, with tank elevage – no barrel.
Medium colour. Nicely fragrant pinot, none of the overt spice of Epineuil. Round, silky, freshly and very attractrively fruited. That’s a very attractive wine, slightly floral finishing – lovely…
2019 Bourgogne Fût de Chêne
Vines in Tonnerre – there’s more limestone here – a bit more vin de presse too.
A modestly deeper colour. A fresh, higher-toned nose, spiced from the wood but attractively. Also fresh and well-textured wine – a suggestion of tannin here but still very silky. More finishing width and intensity – you could keep this a little while but that’s no imperative. Tasty wine – I slightly prefer the energy of the first.
2019 Bourgogne Rouge
This with no barrel elevage.
The deeper colour of the second wine here too. A fresh nose again but this time much more discrete. More direct flavour, floral-perfumed fruit flavour. Almost chewy finishing flavour – structural but very tasty. This I like a lot – there is a certain mineral finishing style to the wine.
2019 Bourgogne Tonnerre
This the younger vine cuvée – vines planted in the 2000s – the older vine cuvée was planted in the 1990s
Wide, fresh, attractive almost a note of aniseed. Fruity and fresh, modestly mineral but with lovely energy – a riper middle fruit but not exotic fruit. Wide, mineral and very tasty finishing, slightly saline – another very good wine.
2019 Bourgogne Tonnerre Cuvée de Marguerite
A synthetic cork-amalgam seal. The name is an hommage a Margueritte de Bourgogne – ‘and my grandmother is called Marguerite,’ remembers Raphaël!
A smoky mineral impression but there’s also a floral aspect – a good nose. More mineral and structural – saline again but with broader and finer middle flavours. More vibrant finishing. This is excellent.
2019 Petit Chablis Sur La Goulerotte
The name of the parcel.
A more forward nose, some green-fruit accents too. In the mouth also with some green-fruit, some complexity and agrume flavour. This is saline, wide and very mouth-watering. A super finish too. An excellent PC!