2021 Domaine M. & C. Lapierre, Morgon, Cru Beaujolais, France.
Tasted at Kermit Lynch’s 50th Anniversary Portfolio Tasting in San Francisco and with Mathieu Lapierre himself, the Morgon, sometimes or once called “Cuvée N” or Sans Soufre, an exclusive version to importer Kermit Lynch, by Domaine Lapierre, was as always gorgeous in the glass, with its deep garnet/purple color, expressive fruit, floral tones and spicy notes it is a Gamay lovers Holy Grail. As I’ve noted before, Mathieu’s no or ultra low sulphur (depending on vintage conditions) added estate Cru Morgon shows a fresher profile than the lightly (more) sulphured “Cuvée S”, standard bottling, with again what feels a bit more heightened and juicy fresh and less restrained in character, which in a young Gamay feels perfect. The medium bodied, but full flavored palate is very seductive with strawberry, wild plum, black raspberry and pomegranate fruits along with whole cluster tension and exotic spices, including cinnamon and peppery notes, as well as dark walnut and crushed violets. I’ve been a fan of Lapierre for close to 20 years now and I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to celebrate Kermit Lynch, who really discovered and brought top Beaujolais to America, and to meet Mathieu, who was very amused by all the attention he and his wines were getting. I also got to sample Lapierre’s newest Le Beaujolais, which is sourced from 70 year old vines and three parcels that, as Kermit Lynch explains, are just across the village line of Morgon in Lancié, a neighboring commune of Villié Morgon. It sees a semi-carbonic maceration without SO2, as well, much like this Morgon, for 10-21 days, and spends six months in “cuve” (vat), all of which make it highly quaffable and seriously compelling too! As a bonus, I got to sample the up coming 2022 Morgon “Cuvée Marcel Lapierre”, one of Beaujolais’ most sought after wines, produced only in exceptional vintages, with grapes coming from Lapierre’s oldest vines (100+ years) in the Côte du Py and lieu-dit “Le Douby” near to Fleurie, notes to follow on those two soon.
Continuing this late father and legend Marcel Lapierre’s traditions and faithfully following the teachings of Jules Chauvet’s natural wine practices, Mathieu Lapierre makes some of the best Gamay wines on the planet and this 2021 Morgon does not disappoint with its ripe fruit and beautiful textural quality, while still having a fine mimerality and raw earthy sex appeal. Domaine Lapierre, as mentioned in my prior reviews, 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. This wine, coming from mature 70 plus year old vines in sandy decomposed granite soils was made with 100% whole cluster fermentation, as Kermit puts it, à l’ancienne, with only native yeasts, mostly in conical wood tanks, with what the Lapierre’s call careful low temperature maintenance, and then age their wines on fine lees for at least nine months in old used oak, which are a combination of ex-Burgundy barrels, and neutral foudres and fûts, all ranging from three to thirteen years old, to promote transparency. The Domaine M. & C. Lapierre wines are all about hedonism and pleasure, they are incredibly well crafted, but still has a raw playful quality, impossible to resist.
($40 Est.) 94 Points, grapelive