Based in Jura, more specifically between Arbois and Doubs, Raphael and Emily Monnier have been learning, living, and loving the world of natural wine for over a decade, working it around their full time jobs as a history teacher (Raphael) and a Lawyer (Emily) until they recently decided to leave the day jobs behind and solely focus on the fruits and labours of their domaine – Ratapoil.
In the local Arbois slang, Ratapoil means a ‘hobby vigneron’ and, though in the past he had to split his time between the school and the vineyard, Raphael has never been anything but serious about his winemaking. The domaine has been certified organic since its inception in 2009 and they put an emphasis on the conservation of grape varieties native to the Jura region, including chardonnay, savagnin, ploussard, trousseau & pinot noir, to name a few.
With vines in and around Arbois, and further north in Doubs, Raphael also employs biodynamic methods in the vines, and farms without the use of pesticides or chemicals, and uses low to no added sulphites, as he deems necessary in any year. In the cellar he normally tops up his whites cuvées, opting to try for fresh, nuanced whites, whilst still retaining the texture, fruit quality and minerality that can oft be found in the wines of the Jura. For his red cuvées he de-stems the bunches, and isn’t shy of a little carbonic maceration to really make the fruit quality and aroma sing.
With small production, like many in the Jura Raphael has been affected by the hard seasons that the vignerons of the Jura have faced in recent years. With an idea to expand production and to hopefully mitigate the potentially devastating effects of losing a crop, he has also started a négociant project with Marie Bourdon, called Avis de Tempête. Marie was a sommelier in Paris and after moving to Arbois she had worked for many years as an assistant to Raphael before going into partnership with him on their project, and in 2019 she produced her first cuvée under her own label.