Marcel Lapierre Le Beaujolais 2022
About the wine:
• 100% Gamay sourced from three parcels that are just across the village line of Morgon in Lancié, a neighboring commune of Villié Morgon.
• Semi-carbonic maceration without SO2, for 10-21 days, and spends 6 months in “cuve”
• Unlike with the entry-level Raisins Gaulois cuvée, this wine is bottled in the spring instead of winter.
• It is the mid-way cuvée between “Raisins Gaulois” and Morgon
About the producer:
• Certified organic by Ecocert since 2004, the estate has worked in accordance with organic viticulture (A.B. label) since the 1980’s
• No chemical fertilizers, synthetic products, or weed killers are used
• To keep soils alive, they use compost and surface plow their vines
• Only non-aggressive treatments are used in order to preserve indigenous yeast populations on grapes and other organisms
• Once the grapes have reached maturity, they are harvested exclusively by hand and put into small containers to prevent any damage to the fruit before vinification
• The bunches undergo a rigorous sorting process “because a clean harvest and an appropriate maturity are essential in our quest for quality during the vinification”
• Only indigenous yeasts are used in fermentation
• The estate vinifies using the traditional “semi-carbonic” method, meaning the majority of berries remain intact and are then saturated with CO2 inside of a closed vat. In this atmosphere, the enzymatic activity manages to start the fermentation
• Wines are bottled unfiltered
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. In the words of KLWM salesperson Sam Imel, “They are meant to be devoured.”