Two paths diverged in the woodlands of Beaujolais. And most people took the one more traveled.
The trodden path was easier, see presenting itself at a steep decline into fame, fortune, and a villainous hogo of a jejune ichor. This is the path of Beaujolais Nouveau and I have come to destroy it. Or at least stop you from drinking it.
Like the delicious neighborhood grilled burger stand that suddenly franchises and serves billions instead of serving you, Nouveau started as a great idea. Everybody needs a spot of cash and Nouveau did just that – wine makers conscript the wine into carbonic machinations, which cranks out slightly alcoholic grape juice in no time flat. It is released shortly after harvest and just in time to sell it to unsuspecting Americans for Thanksgiving. The resultant “wine” is so limpid and vacuous that nobody could possibly be offended by it. The Parent Company invites the dancing girls and we all drink so much that by the time it comes around again next year nobody really remembers how bad it actually was. The race to the bottom is always easiest when greased with pecuniary lubricant. And that is exactly what Beaujolais Nouveau has become – the absolute rock bottom of French commercialism.
It’s not that commercialism is bad, in fact it can be kind of fun – just wait ‘til you get to the bottom of this email! It’s just that the French are so lousy at it. You can’t even get a side of fries with your order of Beaujolais Nouveau.
But fortunately there is that other path in the woodlands of Beaujolais and some peripatetic souls have traversed it. This path, the less traveled path, is the path of Cru Beaujolais and perhaps no one has done more to scout out the route than Marcel Lapierre.
Marcel Lapierre started working in his father’s vineyard when the storm of Nouveau overtook Beaujolais. But he wasn’t having any of it. While others looked to carbonic maceration to force feed the wine’s fermentations, Marcel let nature take its course. When others turned to synthetic fertilizers to increase production, Marcel let his old vines carry on with their low yields. When others then needed pesticides and herbicides to counter what they had done to their land Marcel only needed nature.
It’s almost too easy to say, but what Marcel wanted was pure, clean, bright wine that slips down the gullet easily and ineffably, with nothing between the drinker and wine. No additions, no manipulations, no chemicals, and no dancing girls (sadly).
Marcel Lapierre’s son Mathieu visited the Waterford Wine Company this summer. He brought us wines from the banner year for Cru Beaujolais – 2009 – which we ravaged like it was 1999. What Mathieu did not tell us was Marcel was gravely ill with melanoma. He died October 10th. 2009, his last vintage, is probably the best vintage Beaujolais has ever given the world.
Despite the sad news, Marcel was no shrinking violet and where he went a party did follow. Not only a party, but friends, wine, and enthusiasm for what Cru Beaujolais could be. And armed with his avuncular charity he started a revolution: a revolution of fellow winemakers who create flowing, silky, lithe and complex wines that are a joy to swallow. This November, don’t fall for the French buffoonery known as Beaujolais Nouveau. Drink Cru Beaujolais, and drink it deeply.
What follows is a list of Marcel’s friends and colleagues, the very revolutionaries he inspired, that are situated across the Crus of Beaujolais. Marcel and his friends felt that
each Cru expressed a distinctive taste and flavor. The following list gives the vintage, producer, and Cru along with a short description of the wine. All of the wines are on sale at a special price.
This weekend our recommendation is to explore all of these wines with the jovial enthusiasm in which they were produced – go ahead, party like it’s 2009. Try them all – each one is rewarding beyond your expectations!
2009 Lapierre Morgon
Suggested List Price $25.99
Sale price $18.99
Not enough can be said! A staff favorite: light, easy, supple, pairs with everything from Sushi (yes, really) to Cempazuchi. You won’t be able to stop drinking it. Perhaps the perfect beverage?
2009 Breton Morgon
Suggested List Price $29.99
Sale price $25.99
Expressive, but not overdone, perfume. Spice, strawberries, hints at evergreen. More full and rounded than Lapierre’s Morgon and these two friends would argue about that as you will – over a couple of bottles, of course.
2009 Breton Regnie
Suggested List Price $28.99
Sale price $24.99
If God created cherries then he also created Guy Breton’s Regnie to imitate the perfect, immaculately ripened, bordering on over-ripe, cherry. Why would you stop drinking this?
2009 Folk Machine Valdiguie
Suggested List Price $19.99
Sale price $16.99
Sure, this wine’s a ringer, but you don’t know that and I can’t explain it – Valdiguie, Gros Auxerrois or Napa Gamay, whatever you call it, it doesn’t matter – it’s darn fun to drink. And maybe it is Beaujolais after all!
2009 Chateau Thivin Cote de Brouilly
Suggested List Price $24.99
Sale price $19.99
More grip and animal, mysterious, a touch brooding, but all the more interesting for it. A bottle not to share with others – you need the whole thing.
2009 Domaine Chignard Fleurie
Suggested List Price $27.99
Sale price $22.99
Graceful and decadent at the same time, with a sweet purity of fruit. Three bottles will only barely begin to suffice in a well-managed cellar.
2009 Domaine Diochon Moulin-a-Vent
Suggested List Price $24.99
Sale price $19.99
Serious wine here. Raspberries, apples and tart and tangy on the finish. Needing the love of your cellar. To explore.
These producers are all small, family owned operations. We don’t have much of any one particular wine on the list. But, if we can, we will open everything we have left on Friday and Saturday of this week!
Cheers and all the best!
All orders must be secured with a name, credit card number, and phone number. All orders will be available at the time of purchase. Half case (5%) and full case discounts (10%) do apply to this special offer.
When the wine is ordered your credit card will be charged. The wine will be held in climate controlled conditions until you are ready to pick it up, free of charge. Offer is good while supplies last.