2022 M&C Lapierre "Le Beaujolais", Beaujolais, France
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ABOUT THIS WINE
A brand new wine in the Lapierre lineup, “Le Beaujolais” is a selection of declassified Morgon along with fruit from granitic parcels just outside the cru boundaries. Like the domaine’s legendary Morgon, it is whole-cluster fermented with native yeasts and bottled unfiltered with very little sulfur.
While it represents a more easygoing and immediate expression of Gamay meant for earlier drinking, do not mistake it for a petit vin of little consequence: it has easily enough depth and class to fool you into thinking you are drinking a much fancier and more expensive cru Beaujolais. A sort of mini-Morgon, “Le Beaujolais” is sweetly perfumed of ripe cherries and turned earth, backed by a vibrant freshness and silky, caressing tannins.
50-80 year old vines, 2.5 hectacres. Sandy decomposed soil. Aged for 6 months in tank.
ABOUT THIS PRODUCER
Little would we know that when Marcel Lapierre took over the family domaine from his father in 1973, he was on the road to becoming a legend. In 1981, his path would be forever changed by Jules Chauvet, a man whom many now call his spiritual godfather. Chauvet was a winemaker, a researcher, a chemist, and a viticultural prophet. It was he who, upon the advent of chemical fertilizers and pesticides in the 1950s, first spoke out for “natural wine,” harkening back to the traditional methods of the Beaujolais. Joined by local vignerons Guy Breton, Jean-Paul Thévenet, and Jean Foillard, Marcel spearheaded a group that soon took up the torch of this movement. Kermit dubbed this clan the Gang of Four, and the name has stuck ever since. These rebels called for a return to the old practices of viticulture and vinification: starting with old vines, never using synthetic herbicides or pesticides, harvesting late, rigorously sorting to remove all but the healthiest grapes, adding minimal doses of sulfur dioxide or none at all, and disdaining chaptalization. Sadly, the end of the 2010 vintage was Marcel’s last. He passed away at the end of the harvest—a poetic farewell for a man that forever changed our perception of Beaujolais. His son Mathieu and daughter Camille confidently continue the great work that their father pioneered, now introducing biodynamic vineyard practices and ensuring that Marcel's legacy lives on.
The methods at Lapierre are just as revolutionary as they are traditional; the detail and precision with which they work is striking and entirely different from the mass-produced majority of Beaujolais on the market today. Decomposed granite comprises most of their eleven hectares, and the vines are an average of 45 years of age. Grapes are picked at the last possible moment to obtain the ripest fruit, which is a trademark of the estate style. The Lapierres age their wines on fine lees for at least nine months in oak foudres and fûts ranging from three to thirteen years old. These wines are the essence of Morgon: bright, fleshy fruit with a palatable joie de vivre that was undoubtedly inherited from their creator.