Jean-Claude Lapalu in his "chai" (Photo: Bert Celce, wineterroirs.com)

Drink More Beaujolais - New Arrivals from Jean-Claude Lapalu! And many more...

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One of the great pleasures of our winter trip to France is La Dive Bouteille in Saumur, where one can taste the great Beaujolais of the Descombes family, Lapierre, Chanudet, Breton, Leonis and others, including the beautiful natural wines of Jean-Claude Lapalu. Currently one of the most respected growers in Beaujolais, Lapalu began his career as a grape grower, only beginning to produce his own wines in 1996. "He found his way gradually, step by step along the years through questioning, from a conventional type of farming to one that eschews chemicals and the same for the winemaking, toward a vinification reduced to a simple and natural process, with indigenous yeast and low intervention." *  In the early years 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 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. Always experimenting, Jean-Claude currently produces a number of cuvées without sulfur and has been working with amphora since 2009 for his cuvée "Alma Mater." Of the wines on offer today, only the Beaujolais-Villages is from carbonic-maceration, with whole clusters that macerate for 10 to 12 days and aging for 6 to 7 months in concrete vats. The other three cuvées are primarily destemmed and undergo a three to four week cuvaison with only a small percentage of carbonic maceration. We are very happy to present the three 2015s, which seemed to us to be among the best wines from this warm vintage - they are dense and complex wines but quite balanced and elegant, well suited for current drinking, preferably with decanting, as well as five to ten-plus years of cellaring. And while the 2012 vintage was not well received in the American press, we were quite partial to the low alcohol and vibrant fruit of many of the wines, in particular the 2012 Lapalu Cote de Brouilly. It's a beautiful wine, very pretty and complex, and while it's delicious now, it should really sing in another three to five years - we urge you to try it! (*Quoted from Bert Celce on wineterroirs.com - please see the pictorial essay on Jean-Claude Lapalu, and hundreds more, on this fabulous website!)

Old vertical press in use at Domaine Lapalu

Speaking of Beaujolais, 2014 and 2015 have provided us with many reasons to Drink More Beaujolais - included below are some of our current favorites, all guaranteed to give great pleasure this summer, served nicely chilled, at your picnics and barbecues. The 2014 Vieilles Vignes cuvées from Georges Descombes are particularly delicious, as always, and his 2015 "regular" cuvées are lovely as well. We have been touting for the past year the superb 2014s from Cédric Chignard - the Julienas "Beauvernay," and the Fleurie "Les Moriers." These are stylish, perfectly balaced wines that are a joy to drink! And we are well-stocked with the beautiful biodynamic wines from our friends Joëlle and Roland Pignard - these are true wines of terroir that offer layers of ripe complex fruit over an intense mineral core. And coming soon are the supernatural 2016 Exspectatia and 2015 Patience from Christian Ducroux in Regnié, certainly among the finest natural wines of France!

 

Descombes, Georges 2014 Morgon Vieilles Vignes

This is an extremely pretty Morgon, showing subtle high-toned black raspberry and tart cherry aromas with plum, violet, citrus and brown spice, really lovely. The black and red fruits continue on the palate with complex notes of blood orange, earth, mint and spice. The wine is dense and structured but bright and balanced, finishing with refreshing acidity and mineral flavors. Delicious now, this should be superb in three to five years, and should drink well till 2027. DL

  • red
  • 7 in stock
  • $30.99

  • Organic
  • Low Sulfur

Descombes, Georges 2014 Chiroubles Vieilles Vignes

The Vieilles Vignes bottlings from Georges Descombes are always among our favorite Beaujolais, and we're very happy to finally have the lovely 2014s in the store! A difficult growing season that was saved by good weather at the end of summer, 2014 produced beautifully balanced and very expressive wines in Beaujolais. The Chiroubles Vieilles Vignes shows floral, spiced strawberry and blackberry fruit, with hints of graphite, earth and citrus. Bright plum, strawberry and black fruits on the palate with rose and citrus, textured and mineral with nice length of berry fruits, bright acidity and earth in the finish. This is a lovely, beautifully balanced Chiroubles, at 12.5% alcohol, that is delicious now, best perhaps 2020 - 2025. DL

  • red
  • 10 in stock
  • $30.99

  • Organic
  • Low Sulfur

Descombes, Georges 2015 Brouilly

The 2015 Descombes Brouilly shows a deep red/black color, with aromas of ripe blackberry and strawberry liqueur, with violet, black pepper and citrus - quite lush and pretty. Dark and earthy black fruits on the supple, velvety palate, with good length of sappy fruit that is balanced by refreshing acidity in the finish. This is certainly one of the prettiest and most balanced of the 2015s, really quite delicious in the riper style of the vintage. DL

  • red
  • 17 in stock
  • $20.99

  • Organic
  • Low Sulfur

Descombes, Georges 2015 Regnie

This delicious Regnié shows a vivid red/black color and lush aromas of blackberry liqueur with hints of violet, bitter chocolate and citrus. Ripe, supple berry fruits coat the palate, which is quite well-balanced for a 2015, blackberry and black cherry with lovely length of fruit lingering in the finish which is lifted by firm acidity. This is a great success for the vintage and will provide joyful drinking for the next five years! DL

  • red
  • 21 in stock
  • $20.99

  • Organic
  • Low Sulfur

Descombes, Georges 2015 Morgon

Georges Descombes, one of the finest producers in Beaujolais, captured the lush fruit of the 2015 vintage with moderate alcohol (13%), lovely aromas and silky, supple fruit on the palate. Blackberry, red currant and violet aromas with hints of meat and chocolate; the palate is quite ripe and pretty with nice balancing acidity and freshness - we miss the more delicate, complex fruit of the 2014, but this is a delicious Morgon in a riper style that will drink beautifully over the next five years. Serve with charcuterie, grilled pork and roast chicken, slightly chilled. DL

  • red
  • 4 in stock
  • $22.49

  • Organic
  • Low Sulfur

Pignard 2015 Régnié

Roland and Joëlle Pignard make a small quantity of Regnié from fifty year-old vines in  a vineyard with clay and stones over granite, always giving a dense and mineral wine. The Pignards made a superb Regnié in 2015, very well balanced, even with the higher ripeness in this sunny vintage. The wine shows deep blackberry, red currant and plum aromas with hints of earth, graphite, violets and citrus peel. There is a lovely melange of black and red fruits on the palate backed by firm acidity and saline mineral flavors, quite full and ripe but nicely balanced at 13 % alcohol. This is a great glass of Beaujolais in the richer style of 2015 - delicious now but should develop nicely over the next five to eight years. And it's a fabulous value at $18.99! DL

  • red
  • 13 in stock
  • $18.99

  • Organic
  • Biodynamic
  • Low Sulfur

Pignard 2014 Morgon Cuvee Tradition

While the “regular” Morgon is aged entirely in concrete vats before release, Tradition has an extended elévage in neutral barriques before release (think Griffe du Marquis from Alain Coudert). This serves to add depth to the wine, while also softening and rounding it, making for a very unique expression of the Pignards’ terroir. Exuberant on the nose with bright red and black cherry fruit, red licorice, brown spice, and strawberry compote rising from the glass. The palate is broad and supple with bright red fruit flavors along with a hint of fresh cream, tangerine peel, ample minerality, and fine-grained tannins. This wine is definitely structured to age, probably best in 5-10 years, but is lovely now in its energetic youth paired with steaks, game birds, or pork. Tim Gagnon

  • red
  • 20 in stock
  • $19.99

  • Organic
  • Biodynamic
  • Low Sulfur
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Lapalu 2015 Beaujolais-Villages Vieilles Vignes

 The 2015 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. The wine is an elegant, bright, and pure varietal expression that fills out the palate with dried black cherry, cherry pit, and tangy black raspberry along with top soil and dried herb undertones.  A remarkable expression of Beaujolais at an excellent price. Jonas Mendoza

  • Out of Stock
  • red
  • 0 in stock
  • $18.99

  • Organic
  • Biodynamic
  • Low Sulfur

Lapalu 2012 Côte de Brouilly

The Mont Brouilly, a volcanic "bump" in the granite bedrocks of the Beaujolais, is a terroir of mineral-rich bluish rock with little or no soil, giving a quite different character to the wines. The Lapalu 2012 is from a one hectare parcel of old vines with northeast exposure, so late to ripen.  The fruit was 80% destemmed and 20% whole cluster carbonic maceration, with 10 mg/liter of SO2 added only before bottling. This is a quite different style than the 2015s, showing a lovely garnet color and bright, complex aromas of red currant, raspberry, citrus, rose, earth and spice. The palate shows vibrant red fruits, quite dense and complex and lifted by firm acidity. The finish is very long with bright red fruits and mineral flavors coating the palate - this is an exuberant and delicious Beaujolais that is beautiful now and should really sing in three to five years. Drink until 2027. Thank-you Jean-Claude Lapalu!

  • Out of Stock
  • red
  • 0 in stock
  • $25.99

  • Organic
  • Biodynamic
  • Low Sulfur

Lapalu 2015 Brouilly La Croix des Rameaux

From vines averaging 70 years of age in the lieu-dit "La Croix des Rameaux" on a steep south-west facing slope with various degradations of granite. 90% of fruit was destemmed with a 21 to 24 day cuvaison. The free run and pressed wines were assembled just before final fermentation of sugars. Approximately two weeks later, the wine was transferred into neutral barrels (average age of 10 years) for elevage of 10 months. No added sulfur during vinification, 10mg/Liter SO2 added before bottling, no filtration. The 2015 La Croix des Rameaux shows a bright red-black color, with meaty aromas of ripe blackberry and earth with a bit of violet and black cherry. The palate is dense and a bit closed, showing deep black fruits with hints of citrus, earth and bitter chocolate, very textured and long. Certainly an impressive wine and better balanced than most 2015s at 13% alcohol. Decant in advance if drinking now, best served cool with a steak or grilled pork. This should be very interesting when mature, best perhaps 2022 to 2030.

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

  • Organic
  • Biodynamic
  • Low Sulfur

Lapalu 2015 Brouilly Cuvée des Fous

The Cuvee des Fous, coming from the oldest vines (planted in 1900) in Jean-Claude Lapalu’s possession, is one of his most engaging wines. The grapes were 90% destemmed and then undergo a three to four week cuvaison. The wine ages in ten year-old barrels and is bottled without filtration and with no sulfur added.  A high mark for the extremely warm and ripe 2015s, this is a wine of considerably more poise, restraint and elegance than some other efforts we’ve tasted from this hate it or love it vintage. It offers notes of a dark shade of red berry fruit, black cherry, cherry pit, soft baking spices, with mineral undertones. With good acidity and quite firm tannins for Gamay, this is a beautiful wine -  I wouldn’t hesitate pairing this with a juicy cut of red meat, but also didn’t mind drinking it on its own. Oskar Kostecki

  • Out of Stock
  • red
  • 0 in stock
  • $36.99

  • Organic
  • Biodynamic
  • No Sulfur

Chignard, Cedric 2014 Julienas Beauvernay

This is an outstanding Beaujolais from the Chignard family, better known for their lovely Fleurie "Les Moriers." Possessing the lovely fruit and balance of the 2014 vintage in Beaujolais, the Julienas "Beauvernay" shows a pretty red/black color, with elegant aromas of blackberry and red currant with violet, blood orange, earth and stone.  It's ripe and sapid but with lively acidity and perfectly proportioned at 12.5% alcohol. Morello cherry and red currant fruit with saline minerals, earth and spice coat the palate and continue in the earthy finish. Quite lovely now, this should become a beautiful mature wine with three to five years of aging, drink till 2023-2025. Highly recommended. DL

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

  • Organic
  • Low Sulfur

Chignard 2014 Fleurie Les Moriers

The Chignard Fleurie "Les Moriers" is consistently one of our favorite Beaujolais, coming from a high-density vineyard of 60+ year-old vines adjacent to Moulin-a-Vent. The wine is always quite elegant, even a bit austere in it's youth, due to the less extractive winemaking of the Chignards. The 2014 is a bit more expressive and full-bodied on opening, showing intriguing aromas of ripe strawberry, blackberry, plum, citrus and earth with hints of white pepper and spice - really lovely. There is fairly dense blackberry fruit on the palate with earth and  mineral notes and firm acidity with berry fruits and mineral notes lingering in the finish. 12.5% alcohol. This is a potentially great mature Fleurie, best perhaps 2019 to 2025. Hats off to Cédric Chignard for his two beautiful 2014s!

  • Out of Stock
  • red
  • 0 in stock
  • $24.99

  • Organic
  • Low Sulfur

Pignard 2015 Beaujolais-Villages

The Pignards work 4.5 hectares in and around Morgon and Regnié. Biodynamic farming, natural fermentations and minimal SO2. We've walked through their vineyards, which are absolutely beautiful — "wine is made in the vineyard" say the Pignards and it shows in the gorgeous fruit and mineral character in their wines. The 2015 Beaujolais-Villages is from 40 to 60 year-old vines on decomposed granite soils in high-elevation parcels above Morgon. The wine shows very bright aromas of  strawberry and cherry fruit with violet and citrus, quite pure and lovely. The palate is beautifully balanced for a 2015, at 13 % alcohol, with pretty berry fruits backed by saline minerals and firm acidity. This is "gouleyant" - simply delicious and easy-drinking! Serve quite cool with just about anything, and leave a few in the cellar, as this wine has the structure to age for a few years as well.

  • Out of Stock
  • red
  • 0 in stock
  • $15.99

  • Organic
  • Biodynamic
  • Low Sulfur

Pignard 2014 Morgon

2014 proved to be an excellent vintage for many growers in Beaujolais, and we are thrilled to announce the arrival of Joelle and Roland Pignard’s wines! The vines for this cuvée are 60 years old, planted at high altitude on steep hillsides in sandy clay soils over granite in the lieu-dit "les Charmes," just northwest of their home in Villié-Morgon. The nose offers plummy, dusty fruit, with hints of cranberry, raspberry seed, and savory herbs. Over time it plumps up a bit showing lovely wild strawberry and morello cherry aromas along with a hint of graphite and a gamey quality. High-toned red berry fruit comes forward on the palate along with damp earth and red cherries backed by silky tannins and a crunchy minerality. Very pretty served quite cool now, but there is no doubt that this would age well over the next few years. Tim Gagnon (Tasted again in November, 2016, the wine shows deeper, sappy cherry fruit that coats the palate, and is much more supple and forward. Really a lovely Morgon that's beginning to open up - delicious right now, this will soften and develop over the next five to eight years.)

  • Out of Stock
  • red
  • 0 in stock
  • $18.99

  • Organic
  • Biodynamic
  • Low Sulfur