Tasted in Morgon with Mathieu Lapierre (in full salami-slicing mode), 08 February 2019.
Domaine Mathieu et Camille Lapierre
Tel: +33 4 74 04 23 89
A visit where I just went with the flow as there were another 5 people coming to taste at the same time – it was a lot of fun, but certainly less structured than my normal approach.
We took the chance to walk in the vines behind the cuverie, this climat is Morgon Chênes and it’s one of the domaine’s largest parcels – almost 3 hectares worth. Today they have 17.5 hectares that are worked organically and buy the produce each year of a similar number of hectares. The team is just starting to prune their vines – which is late for Beaujolais, but they are actually starting quite early, normally they start closer to March. After the last harvest the weather also allowed them the opportunity to plough – “So it’s all quite tidy at the moment!”
Matthieu on 2018:
“2018 was a vintage with a combination of generosity but also quality, as such it is something I’ve never seen before. Sorting can be hard work, but in 2018 it was less hard, and believe me we are very picky about what we choose to vinify. That said, it still wasn’t easy to vinify – some cuvees had a pH of 3.65, and normally we are closer to pH 3.5 – here ‘natural’ means we have to react, whilst some people choose or assume that natural means to do nothing! ”
Matthieu on 2017:
“2017 brought hail, of-course. The vintage growth began early and it looked like a very generous vintage in some places which meant lots of work given the speed of the growth. The hail came twice, both localised and with a venom I’ve rarely seen. Parts of Morgon and Fleurie needed triage to remove traces of botrytis – we had a really big team to do the fastest possible work. The volume was about 75% of a normal vintage for us.”
Some outstanding 2018s await, interesting the to compare the sulfur – no-sulfur wines from a few vintages too.
The fermentations of the 2018s are done, there’s zero sugar in the wines and no added sulfite. They will, on average, stay 9 months in barrel, but really it could be anywhere between 6-10 months, but the lot number on the labels is always the bottling date:
2018 Morgon Vieilles-Vignes Part 1
From barrel, not blended yet with the last, 10% (part 2 below) of the cuvee as they are at different stages. Bothe the nose and palate are round, transparent – already a nice clarity and density.
2018 Morgon Vieilles-Vignes Part 2
Wine 2 from Roche Pillet, this is the other 10% if the VV cuvée – Hmm, round, lots of fresh strawberry, a slight reduction that is gone in a couple of minutes. A little more reduced in the mouth, but with swirling this is the more sleek and pure in the mouth.
2018 Morgon Cuvée Camille
The oldest vines of the domaine on the Côte du Py – 100 years-old here. “This cuvée was a way to teach Camille about wine-making – there’s nothing left to for me to teach now.”
Ooh a vibrant nose, plenty of gas, super freshness and intensity, complex, great dimensions of flavour. This is simply a great, dynamic, wine – already! But this 2018 is already sold out – about 4k bottles are produced.
2018 Cuvée Marcel Lapierre
A fine nose, of fresh line and clarity. Here is more width, a certain clarity too, more tannin, a very different shape to this wine. Greater weight of finishing flavour here too – a depth as opposed to the dynamic of the last wine. The last drops have lovely acid fruit quality.
The largest cuvee of the domaine, before sulfuring, or not. We have to guess which is which!
Just a little less colour than the 2018 ‘Marcel.’ Air quickly brings a roundness and clarity to the nose. Fresh, lovely dimensions of flavour, good volume, tasty wine, Fine, sleek, mineral persistence…
A wider nose, swirling adds fabulous extra dimensions of florals. More direct, fresh like the last, supple, I can see more depth to the texture. Wider, more complex. It turns out that this is the wine with the sulfite.
We can play this game in other vintages too:
Ooh – some development here but with a beautiful floral too. Sweeping fresh line, a base of tannin, mineral. A very mineral length. The nose becoming more leafy…
Hmm, wider, a similar complexity, almost a little young. Fuller, less sleek, long again, less strict, more easy to appreciate, but still a baby! Again it was this second wine that had some sulfur – there was not much to choose between them on opening, but the non-sulfur wine opened and oxidised faster from an aromatic perspective.
Less colour, some sediment. Another fabulous nose. Strawberries, old leaves. Driving, super energy, complex. Saline – brilliant
I forgot to write the note(!) But I do remember that there was less of a difference between the 2008s than there was the 2011s.
Returning to the theme, Mathieu is very pragmatic when it comes to the sulfur / no-sulfur debate:
“I always find it interesting that the natural wine is the most open after bottling, but after a year the sulfited wine has more clarity and perhaps more complexity. But ‘who gets what’ really depends on the logistics of each market, the ‘natural wine’ needs a faster turnover of bottles and better storage. Sulfur is tool but it is needed to different levels each year or even for each parcel. I would never risk 24 months of work in the vines and cuverie to compromise a bottle of wine for the sake of a touch of sulfur. 60% of customers prefer the wine ‘with.’ The ‘nature’ does seems to age faster.“