Dinner with Camille Lapierre and natural Beaujolais

beaujolais gamay

Dinner with Camille Lapierre and natural Beaujolais

camille lapierre

On Monday evening I caught up with Camille Lapierre, of domaine Marcel Lapierre, which she runs with her brother Mathieu.

The domaine was founded by their grandfather, who was one of the first to bottle in the area. It was their father Marcel, who died in 2010, who was largely responsible for the reputation Lapierre enjoys today. He took over in 1973, but in 1981 he met Jules Chauvet, who led him to work in a more natural direction.

The domaine consists of 16 hectares, and the latest additions were a couple of hectares in Côte de Py in 2012. They are farmed organically, but 2 ha are farmed biodynamically, as a trial. Camille says that they don’t see a lot of difference.

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Winemaking here hasn’t changed with the new generation. They make a selection on the vine so that they only bring into the winery clean, whole bunches, with no dried grapes and no unhealthy grapes. These are then put into wooden tronconic fermentation vats which takes 4 tons each. Carbon dioxide is used to fill the remaining space and the weight of the grapes causes some juice to pool at the bottom.

Fermentation starts inside the grapes with an enzymatic transformation and after 2-3 days alcoholic fermentation starts at the bottom of the tank. Altogether, it takes around 3 weeks for fermentation to take place and pressing occurs in a vertical press. The wines are then matured in older oak without any additions at all.

2015 was a weird vintage, she says, with very dry conditions, resulting in wines with high pH and high alcohol. They have a tendency to be unstable and liable to oxidation, so in this vintage they won’t be making any of their ‘N’ cuvée. Typically, each year they make and ‘N’ and ‘S’ cuvées, with the latter receiving a bit of sulphur dioxide at bottling, and the former none. Harvest for 2015 was on August 23rd, which is really early, and the potential alcohols were 15-16%, which is unprecedented.

I love these wines.

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Lapierre Raisins Gauloius 2015 Vin de France
From 20-30 year old vines, carbonic maceration. It’s bottled too early to call it Morgon, but too late to be Nouveau, so it’s vin de France, and it’s screwcapped. Camille says it is a wine to drink under the shower. Very lively, fresh and juicy with black cherry and raspberry fruit. Supple and drinkable with floral fruit and a bit of grip. Smashable. 90/100

Lapierre Morgon 2014 Beaujolais, France
Pure and focused with lovely warmth. Textural and fine with fine-grained tannins and generous silky cherry fruit with some raspberry too. Quite lovely. 94/100

Lapierre Morgon 2011 Beaujolais, France
Warm, supple and sappy with nice rich texture and some cherry and plum fruit. This has lovely fine grained structure, and it’s sweet and smooth with nice texture, as well as some fine spicy notes. 93/100

Find these wines with wine-searcher.com

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