Ducroux vines in summer

Christian Ducroux 2020 "Prologue" -  Fabulous Farming, No Sulfur and Low Alcohol = Delicious! Plus Natural Wines from Lapalu and Chamonard...

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Christian Ducroux' glorious 2020 Not-a-Nouveau Vin de France "Prologue" has just arrived!  This superb natural wine comes mostly from a separate high altitude parcel above Regnié (Beaujolais) always giving a beautifully low-alcohol wine that is fabulously delicious and refreshing. "Faites des vins peu alcoolisés avec un joli parfum" said Jules Chauvet (Make wines low in alcohol and with lovely aromas) and no one does this better than Christian Ducroux. The  5 hectare  estate has been organic and biodynamic since 1985, and has operated as a nearly self-sufficient farm, producing its own fertilizer and compost, and plowing and harvesting almost entirely without machinery. The vines average over 60 years of age and are replaced by massale selection, giving extremely low yields and low levels of alcohol. Christian's farming is among the most thoughtful and inspired practiced anywhere in the world and his wines express this work in a joyful natural way. And it's great that people are talking about no-till farming and "regenerative agriculture" in vineyards - Christian has been working this way for 35 years, it's nice that the rest of the world is catching up...

The 2020 Prologue weighs in at 11% alcohol despite the extra ripeness of what is shaping up to be another excellent vintage in Beaujolais, and shows a bright red/purple color with  aromas of crushed strawberry and blackberry with violet, white pepper, plum skin, blood orange and radish greens (!) - really wild and wonderful. The palate is light, bright and refreshing with strawberry compote, blackberry and earth - meaty and mineral with pure bright berry fruits and stony flavors in the thirst-quenching finish.

A certain Sommelière in Ducroux' cellar

The 2020 Prologue is a vibrant, very alive and simply beautiful wine that takes you into the living soils of Ducroux' vineyards and is a tonic for the soul. Zero added sulfur, keep cool - highly recommended for lovers of natural wines! (Yes, case quantities are available!) 

 

 

 

Jean-Claude Lapalu

In his early years as winemaker, Jean-Claude Lapalu was apparently influenced more by southern producers such as Richaud,  Milan and Gramenon before he met and became friends with Lapierre, Foillard, Thevenet and other producers of natural Beaujolais. As with the other great producers of Beaujolais, the farming here In is exemplary with organic certification since 2010, and biodynamic methods as well. And Lapalu's vineyards have a very high percentage of old vines, with most parcels averaging between 50 and 100 years of age.  All grapes are hand-harvested and chilled for 24 hours before going to the tank for fermentation. Vinification varies by cuvée (carbonic vs. semi-carbonic) with whole clusters that macerate for 10-12 days. A 24-hour pressing is customary and done with a traditional vertical press from the late 19th century. Depending on the cuvée, the wines are raised in either glass-lined concrete tanks, or used barriques or tonneaux. The wines offered today receive a tiny SO2 addition prior to bottling, about 10 - 15 mg/liter, with the "La Croix des Rameaux" undergoing a longer 3 week maceration. These are superb natural Beaujolais from a great vintage. Enjoy the Brouillys over the next ten years...

Jean-Claude Lapalu in his chai (phoyo: Bert Celce, Wineterroirs)

 

Old vines at Domaine Chamonard

Joseph Chamonard was one of the first growers in Morgon to adopt the ideas of Jules Chauvet and quietly made some of the very greatest Beaujolais on his small estate. His daughter Geneviève and her husband Jean-Claude Chanudet took over the estate in 1990 and have continued to make small quantities of superb Morgon, as well as a rare and beautiful Fleurie "La Madone" from 1/2 hectare of vines in a south-facing parcel of "granit rose." The 2018 "La Madone" was a big hit at La Dive Bouteille last year (!) and we're happy to offer a few bottles at a low net price, so please give it a try!

 

Ducroux 2020 Vin de France Prologue

Christian Ducroux' 5 hectare  estate has been organic and biodynamic since 1985, and has operated as a nearly self-sufficient farm, producing its own fertilizer and compost, and plowing and harvesting almost entirely without machinery. The vines average over 60 years of age and are replaced by massale selection, giving extremely low yields and low levels of alcohol. Christian's farming is among the most thoughtful and inspired practiced anywhere in the world and his wines express this work in a joyful natural way. "Faites des vins peu alcoolisés avec un joli parfum" said Jules Chauvet (Make wines low in alcohol and with lovely aromas) and no one does this better than Christian - The 2020 Prologue weighs in at 11% alcohol despite the extra ripeness of what is shaping up to be another excellent vintage in Beaujolais, and shows a bright red/purple color with  aromas of crushed strawberry and blackberry with violet, white pepper, plum skin, blood orange and radish greens - really wild and wonderful. The palate is light, bright and refreshing with strawberry compote, blackberry and earth - meaty and mineral with pure bright berry fruits and stony flavors in the thirst-quenching finish. The 2020 Prologue is a lively, very alive and simply beautiful wine that takes you into the soils of Ducroux' vineyards and is a tonic for the soul. Zero added sulfur, keep cool - highly recommended for lovers of natural wines!  David Lillie

  • Out of Stock
  • red
  • 0 in stock
  • $17.99

  • Organic
  • Biodynamic
  • No Sulfur

Lapalu 2019 Beaujolais-Villages Vieilles Vignes

 The 2019 Lapalu Beaujolais Villages is a selection of old vines (50 to 80 years-old) from several plots with a density of 11,000 plants per hectare. Mostly mid-slope, south-east facing early ripening parcels on sandy granite soils. Whole cluster carbonic fermentation in stainless steel vats with indigenous yeasts, maceration of 10 to 12 days, aged on the fine lees for 7 months in concrete vats. 10 mg/liter of SO2 added only before bottling. This is the kind of Beaujolais that people get nostalgic for, bursting with juicy crisp red berries and a modeling clay earthiness, buoyed by plenty of acidity and a certain weightlessness that makes it very easy to empty one bottle and reach for another. Stock up as we head into warmer weather - this is ideal picnic wine.  Sam Ehrlich

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  • red
  • 0 in stock
  • $22.99

  • Organic
  • Biodynamic
  • Low Sulfur

Lapalu 2019 Brouilly Vieilles Vignes

2019 Jean-Claude Lapau Brouilly VV. On a fine spring night (after a particularly raw one) what better way to spend the evening than catching up on samples. Some hits, some misses, and some of which we needn’t speak. What do we have here but the Brouilly VV from dedicated bio vigneron Lapalu, a grower whose wines I remember fondly from the 2014 vintage. The wine has a brilliant dark ruby robe and a slight prickle of CO2. Is this the bright fresh Beaujolais a certain Berkeley wine merchant described in his book? Seems it is. The palate is racy and lithe on the attack, all cherry, cherry stone, and bosky raspberry tang. The slight spritz reinforces that wild berry sensation—so ripe, so fresh, so juicy! But for all the bramble and fruits du bois exuberance, there is a definitive spine of graphite, granular stone to place this in one of the Beaujolais crus. And this nearly stern core frames all the joyous fruit and keeps it from veering into blowsy or insubstantial. But it’s that same bumptious gamay expressiveness that beckons one for the next sip and the sip after that. Quite a feat and a fine quality with a pan-roasted pork chop with a mustard/ramp pan sauce, and preceding saucisson. There’s enough character and savory soil tone here to warrant opening a bottle with a lamb navarin, or better still a morel ragout over polenta. This is lovely stuff and its vibrant character is a piquant reminder that Beaujolais is above all a wine to quench thirst and spark joy at the table.

  • Out of Stock
  • red
  • 0 in stock
  • $29.99

  • Organic
  • Biodynamic
  • Low Sulfur

Lapalu 2019 Brouilly La Croix des Rameaux

Now we're talking! This feels several levels up from the villages, with a fruit profile leaning more toward ripe strawberry and black cherry and more intensity in the mid-palate on the way to a long and fairly mouthwatering finish. There is plenty of savory white pepper and brambly underbrush character to give depth here but no heaviness or alcohol fatigue. This is quite excellent and will serve you well whether you choose to drink it now or in a few years time. Sam Ehrlich

  • Out of Stock
  • red
  • 0 in stock
  • $35.99

  • Organic
  • Biodynamic
  • Low Sulfur

Chamonard 2018 Fleurie La Madone

A rare and delicious Fleurie from Jean-Claude Chanudet at Domaine Chamonard! Since taking over from his father-in-law (Joseph Chamonard) in 1990, Jean-Claude has been keeping the beautiful natural traditions of this estate alive. This Fleurie comes from a single parcel of older vines planted on a steep slope of pink granite soils, farmed by hand without the use of any chemicals. 2018 is a great vintage for the Chamonard Fleurie, showing a deep dark red color and ripe fruit compote aromas - a lovely melange of cherry and black raspberry with violet and citrus notes. The palate is lush, with an earthy texture, showing ripe, well-structured  black fruits and finishing with firm acidity and tart black cherry. This is superb now but should open up beautifully with a few years of cellaring. Drink until 2035? Highly recommended.  David Lillie

  • Out of Stock
  • red
  • 0 in stock
  • no discount
  • $40.99

  • Organic
  • Low Sulfur

Ducroux 2019 Vin de France Esquisse Rosé 3 btl max

  The 2019 "Esquisse" Rosé seemed a bit lighter than the 2018, showing a pretty orange/pink color with aromas of citrus and raspberry, with subtle red fruits on the palate, fresh and silky with a clean mineral finish - a rosé that should gain in complexity over the next 3 - 5 years. David Lillie

  • Out of Stock
  • rosé
  • 0 in stock
  • $19.99

  • Organic
  • Biodynamic
  • No Sulfur