While the Beaujolais is known for producing easy-drinking wines, the combination of old vines, exceptional terroir, and skilled winemaking can yield something truly special—elegant, structured wines capable of maturing for decades, without losing that irresistible early-drinking charm. Marcel Lapierre’s children Mathieu and Camille carry on their father’s legacy by honoring the principles he famously championed: hand-harvesting ripe, organically farmed grapes, allowing a natural fermentation with no additives, and bottling unfiltered with minimal sulfur, if any. This particular bottling represents a rare cuvée spéciale from vines over one hundred years old on Morgon’s splendid Côte du Py. The texture here is pure velvet, a Lapierre trademark. Substance, flesh, and serious density are delivered with total finesse and seductiveness. This world-class wine will entice and inspire for many years to come.
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. Following the example of traditionalist Jules Chauvet, Marcel and three other local vignerons Jean Foillard, Jean-Paul Thévenet, and Guy Breton, soon hoisted the flag of Chauvet’s back-to-nature movement. Kermit dubbed this clan the Gang of Four, and the name has stuck ever since. The Gang called for a return to the old practices of viticulture and vinification. Sadly, the 2010 vintage was Marcel’s last. His children, Mathieu and Camille continue the great work that their father pioneered, introducing biodynamic vineyard practices and ensuring that Marcel's legacy lives on.
After years of the region’s reputation being co-opted by mass-produced Beaujolais Nouveau and the prevalence of industrial farming, the fortunes of vignerons from the Beaujolais have been on the rise in the past couple of decades. Much of this change is due to Jules Chauvet, a prominent Beaujolais producer who Kermit worked with in the 1980s and arguably the father of the natural wine movement, who advocated not using herbicides or pesticides in vineyards, not chaptalizing, fermenting with ambient yeasts, and vinifying without SO2. Chief among Chauvet’s followers was Marcel Lapierre and his three friends, Jean Foillard, Guy Breton, and Jean-Paul Thévenet—a group of Morgon producers who Kermit dubbed “the Gang of Four.” The espousal of Chauvet’s methods led to a dramatic change in quality of wines from Beaujolais and with that an increased interest and appreciation for the AOC crus, Villages, and regular Beaujolais bottlings.
The crus of Beaujolais are interpreted through the Gamay grape and each illuminate the variety of great terroirs available in the region. Distinguishing itself from the clay and limestone of Burgundy, Beaujolais soils are predominantly decomposed granite, with pockets of blue volcanic rock. The primary vinification method is carbonic maceration, where grapes are not crushed, but instead whole clusters are placed in a tank, thus allowing fermentation to take place inside each grape berry.
Much like the easy-going and friendly nature of many Beaujolais vignerons, the wines too have a lively and easy-drinking spirit. They are versatile at table but make particularly good matches with the local pork sausages and charcuterie. Though often considered a wine that must be drunk young, many of the top crus offer great aging potential.
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