Lapierre Raisins Gaulois Beaujolais 2016
The French are having a good laugh on us right now—and it’s all the way to the bank. The reason, my fellow Americans, for all this ill-founded Gaullic glee? Two deceptively fancy-sounding words: Beaujolais Nouveau.
Beaujolais being a place, Nouveau the type of wine. Combine the two and you have something utterly nefarious – an invented celebration that happens on the third Thursday of each November whereby the French get to foist upon the world one of the worst wines known to mankind: Beaujolais Nouveau.
The Nouveau process forces wine through unnatural, utterly manipulative, commercial machinations. First, the wine undergoes carbonic maceration. Sounds like a part to a car engine, right? It’s the process of flooding a pressurized tank of grapes with carbon dioxide. The grapes explode under CO2, jolting the start of anaerobic fermentation. The resulting liquid must be thoroughly “cleaned”, generally through charcoal density filters. But that’s not all. The Nouveau timeframe is tight and so a little “flash pasteurization” – boiling the wine – is in order, just to make sure it’s not unhealthy to drink. The resulting wine is vaguely reminiscent of sweat stained with red food coloring.
But hey, it’s a celebration, right? Somebody has to drink it – why not the Americâns!
Life is too short to drink bad wine. But life isn’t long enough to throw too many good parties. Here’s my recommendation – let’s party, but let’s party down with a darn good wine: Lapierre’s Beaujolais.
Lapierre’s Beaujolais is what celebrations are all about: the ultimate expression of Beaujolais – a living vitality within the wine. Sound crazy to you? There really is a difference. When most producers choose the commercially successful path of Nouveau, Lapierre adopted natural winemaking – and the two couldn’t be at greater ends of the spectrum. No weed killers in the vineyard, no chemical additives in the wine making process. No additives to the wine at all. No carbonic maceration, no filtering, no flash pasteurization, no sulfur, no nothing.
Nothing added; just Nature expressing its lovely unadulterated self through fermented grape juice.
His fellow Frenchmen initially called Lapierre a lunatic. But the resulting wine is one of the most magical that I have tasted. It’s incredibly fun to drink. That’s right, all this complicated philosophy of living vitality and biodynamic farming all comes down to fun in the glass.
Here is Lapierre’s Raisins Gaulois – his fresh cuvee that joyfully bursts from the glass with strawberry , rose, narcissus and nutmeg spice. The body of the wine is quick and juicy, like a ripe tomato or slightly overripe cranberry. There is a purity of flavor here that makes it a sophisticated pairing with an enormous range of food – everything from Thanksgiving turkey to sushi. Marcel Lapierre’s Raisins is what the celebration of Beaujolais is all about (and for those of you wondering, this almost entirely sourced from within the cru of Morgon).
This year, skip Nouveau and instead drink what makes Beaujolais worthwhile – Lapierre’s Beaujolais.