Tasted with Jean-Claude Lapalu in Saint-Etienne la Varenne, 26 February 2021.
Domaine Jean-Claude Lapalu
Les Quatre Croix,
69460 Saint-Etienne la Varenne
Tel: +33 4 74 03 50 57
More reports with Jean-Claude Lapalu
Jean-Claude on 2019:
“Was a very easy year in the cuverie; we ask always the questions with natural yeasts about the end of the fermentations – will they be up to it? – but in 2019 it went very well – it was more complicated in 2018 and a little 2020. We had good pHs and the volatiles were reasonable. For some people the wines are too proper to be natural we have consistency. The yields weren’t bad – I had 40-45 which for me is really okay. Yes the 2019s, they are like 2016 – probably because we harvested in September again!”
A master-class – my thanks to Jean-Claude for this – I bought some!
The 2019 Beaujolais Villages cuvées are sold out here – you can the notes of my last visit here.
2019 Brouilly Vieilles-Vignes
All tank, whole-cluster. An assembly of three parcels, with early bottling – JC’s base Brouilly.
A wine of depth and energy – a little stock and deeper fruit too. Fresh, wide – a wine with energy and width – nicely mouth-watering, slightly metallic, very easy over the palate with a burst of finishing minerality – I’d keep this a little longer, a super finish. Immediate, fluid, very tasty.
2019 Côte de Brouilly
Wider, more depth and complexity too. Fuller in the mouth – more depth of flavour and fine texture, lots of freshness and a more perfumed style too. Layered and completely delicious – that’s excellent wine!
Not much morning sun but it has the heat of the afternoon – ‘still that’s a later ripening place.’ A parcel with 5-80 year-old vines, 20% destemmed to bring a bit more juice.
Plenty of colour. Hmm, that’s the most together and fine, complex nose – a fine purity here. Direct, fresh, beautiful depth of fine flavour – direct and pure – that’s just a great wine. Bravo, nice vibration of finishing energy!
In a Bordeaux bottle – Vines from 1900, isolated like this since 2000. Barrel elevage.
There is a similarity of aroma, of depth, of fruit with some energy. Here there is the driving freshness and purity of the last wine but with extra structure, extra tannin – yet never too dense or oppressive. Layered, calmer, more sophisticated finishing but what concentration for such balance. Another great wine that you could keep and keep – if you can keep your hands off it! A great pure fruited finish…
2019 Alma Mater VdF
Grapes of different origins – ‘ones that I put to one side for this amphora elevage – can be Brouilly, and Côte de Brouilly all destemmed – 4-5 weeks fermenting in the open jar and then I close it, re-opening in April for pressing the wine. I started his journey with jars in 2009…’
Just a little less colour than the precedents. A width, freshness and purity of aroma – much less depth and quite airy. Ooh – now that’s rather good – some structural tannin – but almost with no grain. Wide, with fine acidity and texture. An airy style in the mouth too – but there’s concentration here too – particularly in the finish with a hint of salinity too. Another simply super wine.
Another Bordeaux bottle – another small cuvée – parcelaire with grapes that are late picked – ‘harder than it sounds in the hot vintages when much starts at 14° for the normal cuvées – quite an extractive vinification to start with but I thought too much – now hardly extract but the grapes are anyway so concentrated – we have the aromas and the alcohol – but alcohol that you don’t see.’
A slightly compact nose, but fine, very faintly herbed complexity. Cool fruit – wide, ultra-silky, there is concentration without density – very fine tannin. A wine that is very sophisticated and I’m sure you would never guess how it is made! Bravo!