2017 Domaine M. & C. Lapierre, Morgon, Cru Beaujolais (Cuvee N), France.
The beautiful and wonderfully exuberant 2017 Morgon “Cuvee N” Sans Soufre by Lapierre is gorgeous in the glass with its deep garnet/purple color, expressive fruit, floral tones and spicy notes that lead the way to the lively palate that is bursting with the winery’s signature energy deep flavors. Camille and Mathieu’s no sulphur estate Cru Morgon shows a fresher profile than the lightly sulphured with what feels a bit more juicy and less restrained in character, everything seems to shine brighter and finish seems longer, it is vivid and joyously quaffable. There is loads of strawberry, wild plum, black raspberry fruit along with whole cluster exotic elements including the heightened fruit, snappy/stemmy cinnamon and peppery notes, perfume as well as mineral, earth, walnut husk, fennel and zippy acidity. Air brings a touch more of a savory presence, but also allows for more textural pleasure gaining in mouth feel, this vintage is impressive for it’s purity, vitality and it is lovely with many food options.
Continuing their father’s traditions and faithful following of Jules Chauvet’s natural wine practices Camille and Mathieu Lapierre make one of the world’s best Gamay wines, and this 2017 vintage is a gorgeous example with a divine purity of fruit, crunchy mineral tones from its granite terroir and a pretty layered texture. Domaine Lapierre is arguably one of, if not the top quality natural wine producer and an inspiration to thousands around the world including famed importer Kermit Lynch, one of the late Marcel Lapierre’s early admirers, and while the domaine was always organic the sister and brother team of Mathieu and Camille have converted to biodynamic. Marcel Lapierre took over the family domaine from his father in 1973, and according to Kermit, he was already on the road to becoming a legend, but In 1981, his path would be forever changed by Jules Chauvet, a man whom many now call his spiritual godfather (and the godfather of natural wine). Chauvet was a winemaker, a researcher, a chemist, and a viticultural prophet, in much the same way Nicholas Joly was with biodynamics in the Loire Valley. 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, and winning followers throughout the Burgundy and Beaujolais regions. Chauvet heavily influenced the Lapierre family and their wines as well as later generations such as neighbors like Foillard, Thevenet, Breton and more recently Julien Sunier, just to name a few.
The latest Morgon Cru Beaujolais from Lapierre comes from 45 plus year old vines set on the zones decomposed granite soils, it was picked at the latest possible moment, again Kermit notes that Lapierre tries to obtain the ripest fruit, which is a trademark of the estate style, while still having intensity of form, vigor and acid driven energy. All of which shows here in their 2017 vintage of cuvee N, the non sulfur bottling sold exclusively through Kermit Lynch and is a natural wine icon. Kermit once told me he was nervous about shipping no sulfur wines, but he was convinced by Marcel, plus in my opinion Gamay is the perfect grape for this style and the results, especially with this one prove the point. They employ whole cluster fermentation, as Kermit puts it, à l’ancienne with only native yeasts, mostly in conical wood tanks, with careful low temperature maintenance and the Lapierres age their wines on fine lees for at least nine months in oak, which are a combination of ex-Burgundy barrels, and neutral foudres and fûts ranging from three to thirteen years old. This 2017 Lapierre Morgon is one of my favorites to date, maybe not as monumental as the 2009, but I still rank this one right up there and it should age nicely too, even though it is holy cow crushable right now!
($38 Est.) 94 Points, grapelive