Jean-Claude Lapalu – 2020


Jean-Claude Lapalu 2022Tasted with Jean-Claude Lapalu in Saint-Etienne la Varenne, 22 February 2022.

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 2021:
In volume not too bad but I had frost over about 40% the vines and that made for some fragility, allowing mildew and black rot to take hold. Then there was 3x with hail too. My last treatment was about 5th of August but we continued to lose some grapes after that. But for all that, the wines are much more interesting than the year sounds – lower alcohol – 12-12.5° – we will probably drink them with pleasure before the more dense and structured 2020s which have more like 14-14.5°.

Jean-Claude on 2020:
Actually not much is left – all, practically all, is sold out – we sold almost 6 months’ worth of wine in the last 2 months of 2021 – but I think I’ve still got 3 cuvées that are left in stock – let me check! The yield could have been better but it wasn’t bad – we still finished in August – 19-29 August – the second earliest finish after 2003 – but there wasn’t much to harvest that year. We lost a good quarter of the harvest due to the dryness and with that maybe some of the quality of the vintage as the wines were much more concentrated and so perhaps a bit less drinkable.

The wines…

Always entertaining and always with something worth a special search!

We tasted the three cuvées that were not yet sold out:

2020 Côte de Brouilly
’14° – and that’s north-facing on blue-stone and clay – it’s the only place I actually made some volume in 2003!’
That’s really deep and there’s good width to this nose too. Super in the mouth – mobile, energetic, flavour – a little direct and growing wider. The freshness really brings this into fine focus. That’s clearly an excellent wine.

2020 Brouilly Croix des Rameaux
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.
A fine vibration of energy here – complex aromatics too. Like the last, mouth-watering and energetic but whilst the last was more direct this is a wine of width. Creamily natural in the middle flavours – and deliciously so. A fine last impression of tannin without grain – practically without dryness too.

2020 Beaujolais Villages Le Rang du Merle
Bordeaux bottle – ‘I’ve made this for about 10 years – slightly extractive whole clusters and cold macerated – quite ripe fruit but I think I manage to retain the drinkability. Not carbonic but with expressive fruit.’
A rounder nose with more cushioning, slowly starting to offer some attractive red fruit. Ooh – super-silky – that’s a great shape and texture. There’s a depth of flavour here too, still quite perfumed. Mobile, melting, mouth-watering if not quite juicy. Graphite mineral finishing – and long too. This is a great finish and a great wine!

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