By Chris Gill
While Thanksgiving is celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November, the third Thursday of November is the day that French Beaujolais Nouveau wines are released for sale. As a result, these young, fresh, fruity, and affordably priced wines often find their way to the Thanksgiving table, where they are consumed only a few months after the grapes for these wines have been harvested.
Connoisseurs looking for a wine with a little more depth and character for the Thanksgiving table should look past Beaujolais Nouveau and consider its more charismatic brother, Beaujolais Cru. Wines from Beaujolais Cru’s Morgon sub-region in particular have deep color, rich, earthy flavors, and good aging potential. Many Morgon wines are aged a year to a year-and-a-half in the bottle before release, and they’re usually in peak drinking condition after five to 10 years of aging, when they exhibit qualities similar to a good Burgundy wine.
Many Beaujolais fanatics considered Marcel Lapierre to be one of the greatest vignerons in Morgon—one who preferred organic cultivation and letting nature lead the way in the wine’s vinification. Sadly, he passed away on October 10, 2010, just after the completion of the harvest of his 2010 vintage’s Gamay grapes. As a result, the 2009 vintage is the last one where Marcel oversaw production of his Morgon wines through the bottling stage. His son Mathieu is capably carrying on the business, but for wine drinkers who want to experience Marcel’s magic the 2009 vintage is their last chance.
Cuveé Marcel, identifiable by the Roman numerals designating the vintage on the label, is Lapierre’s best of the best, bottled only during prime vintages (and 2009 was one of the best Beaujolais vintages in many years). The wine is still quite young, but with three hours to a full day of air it softens nicely and sheds its tannins, delivering a creamy, silky texture and vibrant cherry, licorice, and cinnamon flavors. If you’re looking for something special for the Thanksgiving table, Lapierre’s 2009 Cuveé Marcel is worth seeking out.
For more information visit Marcel Lapierre