Raphaël Bérêche began working alongside his father Jean-Pierre at their family domaine, Bérèche et Fils, in 2004. Founded in 1847, Bérèche et Fils has discovered a new breathe of life as Raphaël along with his brother Vincent, the family’s fifth generation have taken the reins. The combination of innovative work in the cellar along with a turn towards natural viticulture has sprung new energy in the domaine’s Champagne. Raphaël and Vincent are no longer using chemical herbicides in the vineyards and the domaine is now using cover crops and biodynamic techniques to encourage soil and vine health. In the cellar, Raphaël has become more focused on detailed aspects of production like bottling under cork for the second fermentation instead of capsule. It is the fine details that are slowly turning one of Champagne’s top growers into an iconic domaine. The brothers’ love for their family’s vineyards along with his passion for terroir focused Champagne have promoted their mission “to excel in precision, tradition and respect for life.”
With vineyards spread across Montagne de Reims and into the left bank of the Vallée de la Marne, the brothers have their hands full. They acquired their first grand cru vineyard in 2012 in Mailly and are working with each of Champagne’s noble grape varieties : Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier.
Raphaël vinifies each parcel separately. The grapes are picked and then pressed “in the most delicate way according to the flow of juice in order to get a regular juice extraction. The alcoholic fermentation is slow and continues in small containers.” Raphaël avoids malolactic and the family has slowly been increasing the amount of oak used in their cellar. Each of their wines mature on fine lees and are racked off by gravity. Bottling takes place at the end of May and the bottles are cellared between 2 to 8 years before disgorgement by hand.