Marcel Lapierre

Vineyard Profile

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About This Vineyard

Marcel Lapierre, who passed away this week (October 2010), was one of the leading lights in the movement for more natural wines in France. He is succeeded by his son Mathieu. Domaine Lapierre follows biodynamic principles in the vineyard, bottling part of his output without the addition of any sulphur. Ordinary common or garden Beaujolais, this isn’t!

The 11ha of vines – including 1ha on the Cote de Puy, Morgon’s unofficial ‘Grand Cru’ – have an average age of 45 years and are all planted on the decomposed schist or ‘rotten rocks’ that mark the best terroirs in this part of Beaujolais.

Turn up in spring and you are likely to see them being ploughed by a horse. In the winery, Marcel eschewed full carbonic maceration and instead advocated the use of a semi-carbonic method in old, wooden tanks. Once the inter-cellular fermentation has started, winemaking reverts to a more Burgundian process crushing the grapes and punching down the cap of skins and seeds to aid extraction. The wine is then aged in old oak barrels (between three and thirteen years old) that bought from Domaine Prieure-Roch in Vosne-Romanee.

Quite unlike the jammy, strawberry scented wines usually found in Beaujolais, this is a far more serious affair: textured and fresh with a bite of tannin and wonderful purity of fruit.

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