Fall is starting to take full hold in Virginia, leaves are changing, long sleeve shirts are getting into the everyday rotation, and events like Thanksgiving are slowly starting to loom out on the horizon. For many decades the release of Beaujolais Nouveau around that same time was an integral part of the holiday season, and while there are still good ones to be found the size and impact of the occasion just isn't what it used to be. Part of it is the overall lack of diversity and complexity you can create within such a short time from harvest to release, it's hard to get anything more distinctive than 'good' or 'bad' out of them. Plus they re inherently fragile, rarely worth keeping much into the next harvest, so most people don't want to have any extras on hand. Thankfully many wineries are learning to roll with the punches and are starting to produce wines like this that straddle the fun qualities of Nouveau and the need to make a wine that lives better in the rest of the world. Marcel Lapierre is part of the legendary Kermit Lynch 'Gang Of Four' that helped spearhead the evolution of Beaujolais from near obscurity in the 80s and 90s, and this wine comes from younger vines in their Morgon vineyards. Because of the way this wine is made it can't be labeled as either Beaujolais Nouveau or even Beaujolais, but it's 100% Gamay fruit from very noble soils. Think of it as 'Nouveau Plus' or 'Nouveau 2.0'.
The wine is bottled in late Winter/early Spring without filtration or fining, so the color is that of a full on youthful Beaujolais, deep translucent burgundy instead of the vivid hi-def violet of Nouveau. Yet the aromas lean towards the very youthful fruits, fresh cranberries and cherry skin with a smack of strawberry leaves. All natural fermentation here so none of that manufactured bubble gum that Nouveau is all too often known for. The mouthfeel is juicy, full and savory with lots of earth coming through behind the drier fruits, a lot less of the meaty tones and higher tones acidity that good Beaujolais has, and an easy straightforward finish. This is also a treat for those that like a more 'natural' wine as it is bottles with very little SO2, but because of the way it is made is still a lot more stable than a Nouveau. A great wine for the Beaujolais novice, of for splashing around on a fall evening.
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