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Too Beaujolais, or not too Beaujolais

Out with the bad reputation, in with the good?

Marcel Lapierre, who died last year, was perhaps the most important person to help save the reputation of the Beaujolais region, which was mostly known by the masses as “that place” where Beaujolais Nouveau comes from.  Always sour, rarely drinkable, until producers such as Marcel Lapierre, Jean Foillard, Guy Breton, Jean-Paul Thévenet and let’s not forget Yvon Métras came along and stopped adding selected yeasts to their Gamay grapes, or anything else for that matter. The recipe was easy, healthy grapes and a lot of hard work.

Now, I will admit that I never had the fortune to taste the wines made by Marcel Lapierre (his last vintage I believe was the 2009), due to importer/logistic problems I had in Norway. What, you say?! Never tasted the fruit of Marcel’s hard work?! Nope. Never. Nada

So, brace yourself as I taste the 2010 Morgon Sans Soufre *(please see “comments” below).  In fact, i tasted the 2010 vintage on 2 separate occassions. And I disliked the wine on two separate occasions.

2010 Marcel Lapierre Morgon Sans Soufre

November 4th at 19:00

Yes, the nose was intense in the sense that the aromas just jumped out of the glass. But, something peculiar…. I could swear that I felt sulfur. Yes, I know that natural fermentation will produce sulfur, but since none was added to this wine*(please see “comments” below) during the wine making (I expected the final number to be low) I was surprised to find it there – stinging my nose. And i also found this on other Lapierre wines from the 2010 vintage. I  found this on this Morgan (both bottles I tasted) and on the Raisins Gaulois…. In all the 2010 wines I tasted, aromas that were not very exciting  jumped out of the glass.  I didn’t find the aromas so fruity, but rather green like what you would get from underripe fruit. There were some small red berries also, but the green was dominant. Too dominant.

On the palate much of the same; green mostly with some light red berries and a structure and concertration that left me wondering if I was drinking an ordinary Beaujolais Nouveau.

After struggling through a couple glasses trying to grasp this wine, I decided to put it in the fridge until the next day to see if it improved, after all this was a Lapierre Morgon.

November 5th, 18:35

Appearance: Same as last night, a pale red, not very intense wine with a very slightly hazy, unfiltered look to it (which I liked)

Nose: most of the stinging I felt yesterday on the nose was gone. But there was still that sour, red fruit with dominating green notes I nosed yesterday. The wine is just not very ripe. One day or 5 years wasn’t going to change that. I just keep going back to that glass trying to find what it was that everyone spoke so highly of. I was really searching for that purity of fruit, and I just couldn’t find it. There were some hints of fruit in the form of little red berries and vague hints of watermelon, but not the pink juicy part, but rather the green meat closer to the skin..

Palate: In the mouth, the wine was showing the fruit a bit better than on the nose and a bit better than yesterday. The watermelon was there as well, but mostly the light pink part near the skin. The tannins have gotten a bit more aggressive than yesterday and were now dominating along with the underripe fruit. The acidity was quite high, but not that ripe, juicy acidity I enjoy that helps carry the wine to a long and happy ending that leaves you wanting to start again from the beginning. That first sip that leads you fall in love with a wine. This just doesn’t have that feeling for me. I don’t want to take another sip, and why would I when my mouth still feels «bruised» from that first sip. But most of all, this wine lacked some serious depth. Depth I would expect from a Morgan. Disappointed.

Some might wonder if this was a bad bottle, but the fact is it’s the second bottle I have tasted of Lapierre’s 2010 Morgon..or perhaps I’ve never really tasted a Morgon made by Lapierre. Or perhaps it’s a 2010 vintage issue.

Now, by contrast, I happened to have a bottle of Yvon Metras 2009 Fleurie Le Printemps in my cellar, so I thought what the hell. Let’s do another one of those odd comparisons i love to do just because i can 🙂  Yea, I know, two different vintages, two different Villages. So what.

2009 Yvon Métras Fleurie Le Printemps

After coming off tasting a 2010 Lapierre Morgon, one would expect that i may be disappointed, but I say that after the Lapierre it would be hard to be disappointed.

November 5th, 19:00

Nose: just as intesne as the Lapierre Morgon, but what, what is that I smell? Fruit, fruit and loads of it. Not under ripe and not overripe either, but really nice and fresh. Cranberries with a slight hint of peppery spice.. now I knew I was smelling a Gamay. Hints of barnyard and purple flowers give this wine a bit of edge that tends to make me smile. A wild side you might say. And none of that “sulfur” sting I experienced from the Lapierre.

Palate: Ah, balance, fruity with an amazing sweet cranberry finish. Fruit all the way from start to finish and what a finish it was, juicy with some cleansing tannings along the way. I would say quality here.

Great acidity that surrounded the wine just fine. Refreshing and begging me to take another sip, and so I did over and over again. The fruit was only just a bit dominant if I was to be crtitical. But, this is something that time will surely sort out. The wine is deep deep deep, something the Morgon was not. Another component that the Morgon lacked was concentration, which is something this wine has nothing to apologize for. Concentration could be it’s middle name.

Oh, and did I forget to say the word elegance? The wine was quite elegant, perhaps one of the most I have tasted from Beaujolais.

In the end I have to say that this wine isn’t exactly in my style, but it was in my opinion (not taste) that it was a better wine than the Lapierre Morgon. What I didn’t love about this wine is that there was a disturbing sweet note tied to the fruit, one which today is noticable but will very likely disappear in a few years.

Lapierre Morgon 2010 – light, green and bitter with the ability to leave the mouth a bit sore and not wanting more. A Morgon disguised as a Beaujolais Nouveau, sorry.

Métras Fleurie Le Printemps 2009– serious depth wrapped in juicy fruit, lively acidity and enough tannins to make it the perfect mate to food. Elegant and concentrated. Win

 

Category: 1 WINE, natural wine (100% living wine), Too Beaujolais or not too Beaujolais

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7 Responses

  1. Joseph, are you sure this Morgon is unsulphured? The label you have on the photograph is the regular cuvee from Lapierre, and was never said to be unsulphured. The no-SO2 cuvee has Roman numerals for the vintage on the front label, and mentions “non sulphitee” on the back label (also because the Morgon MMX also has a lightly sulphured batch that has exactly the same front label but “legerement sulphitee” on the back label).
    Please double check if you can.
    I agree that the acidity in this wine is very high… but I enjoy it nonetheless. IME it benefits from a good 3-4 hours airing.

  2. vinosseur says:

    Hello Wojciech!

    I no longer have the empty bottle, but I remember reading “sans soufre ajoute” on the back label somewhere, both when I received the bottle and when i opened it. To be honest, I hope I remember incorrectly and that you are right.. However, even if this was a bottle where some sulfur was used, how much exactly? From this producer I would still expect a low dosage, but it certainly didn’t seem that way. It just seemed a bit obvious and I didn’t expect that.

    The wine didn’t sit in a decanter for 3 hours, but it remained opened (with cork) overnight, then drank up slowly the next day. My bottle didn’t improve much.

    Thank you for your comments. I would love to read your tasting notes on this wine.

  3. That’s surprising, because I assumed it’s only the Cuvee Marcel Lapierre (with the Roman numerals) that has a no SO2 added version.
    Actually I’ve just posted on this wine a few days ago:
    http://bonkowski.wordpress.com/2011/11/08/marcel-lapierre-morgon-2010/
    Clearly our opinions differ. But some of our tasting notes do overlap. I too remarked on the above-average acidity, and on the element of underripeness (for me a characteristic of 2010). And I could agree that the wine has no particular depth. But what distinguished it in my book is the great purity of fruit, the vibrancy and ethereal intensity.
    May I just remark that it’s another wine – after the Occhipinti Frappato 2009 – when I see you reacting negatively to a wine that’s acid-driven and a little underripe. This is interesting because that very characteristic is what makes me rate these wines higher. I prefer a wine to be a little underripe than a little overripe. I perceive more energy and more ageing potential in a bit of greenness than in a bit too much sweet, oily phenolic fruitiness. But of course this is very personal.
    Lapierre tends to be less acidic, silkier and fleshier in riper vintages like 2009 or 2005, when he comes closer to Jean Foillard in style. Of course when you come to Warsaw some older vintages will be made available to you 🙂

  4. vinosseur says:

    Wojciech,

    Thanks again for commenting. You may very well be correct regarding the SO2 in this wine. I usually take a photo of the back label, but for some reason I didn’t this time. i don’t know why… I am hoping somebody else will also comment on this. But for now, i will take your word since my memory is not 100%. Oh, i should mention that this bottle came from Warsaw, so maybe that will help us figure out if it was with added sulfur. Did the Cuvée Marcel Lapierre come into Poland?

    Unfortunately, Google translate doesn’t like to translate from Polish, so I have difficulties following Polish writings, but I will get a personal translator to translate your post.
    My reaction to high acid, “slightly” under ripe wines is most likely due to the fact that after 8 years in Norway, where the higher the acidity the better, I got tired of some of these German Rieslings that earned high scores because their acidity was high. The higher the better. Admittedly, I used to devour those wines at first, but I grew quickly tired of them.
    My ideal wine, of course, would be one made with perfectly ripe grapes and ripe, juicy acidity 🙂
    It’s curious this mention of ageing potential in the higher acid wines. I do agree that the acid component can be a “natural preservative”, helping the wine age longer, but when the fruit is not there to begin with, age won’t help that. I couldn’t find the fruit on this Morgan. Perhaps I was looking for a different “type” of fruit.

    Differing opinions are what make the wine world so interesting. And of course, you cannot argue with taste.

    I guess I will have to come up to Warsaw and have you introduce me to some older vintages of Lapierre so I can repost 🙂

  5. vinosseur says:

    Wojciech,

    I have added a *(please see “comments” below) phrase in my post after writing that this wine was made without sulfur so that the readers of my blog will get the entire picture

  6. Sorry for the confusion Joseph. I just checked on a bottle I have at home and you’re right it says “Sans sulfite ajoute ni filtration”. What confused me is that this cuvee has usually been lightly filtered with the no SO2 regime reserved for the upper Cuvee Marcel (Roman numerals). Maybe the latter was not produced in 2010?
    I agree a wine cannot age with no fruit. However in this case I think the fruit is there. It might just not be superripe, and it’s certainly subtle, but I get lots of fruity and flowery impression here, especially from a Burgundy glass with proper airing, though admittedly with a bracing acidic backbone as well.

  7. vinosseur says:

    Wojciech,

    Thanks for clarifying the SO2 situation. i thought I was losing my mind; and at such a young age 😉

    A Burgundy glass? Now why didn’t I think of that. I need to retaste the wine in a Burgundy glass then. i will search out another bottle and give it another try. i only know that I love to taste taste taste!

    Cheers

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Vinosseur is the company name of sommelier Joseph R. Di Blasi. Vinosseur.com is his web page where he writes about wine, food, restaurants and other gastronomic experiences.

Joseph has a special place in his heart for quality wines from the old world, especially France & Italy, with a strong focus on Organic, Biodynamic and Natural wines.

Joseph grew up in Italy and California, but left The States in 2002 and now resides in Poland.

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