Jean-Claude Lapalu Brouilly 2009


Whilst Jean-Claude Lapalu could be seen to be following in the family’s footsteps by becoming the 3rd generation of winemakers, he has taken a very different approach. He founded the Domaine in 1996 and ceased selling to the local co-operative in order to concentrate on making wine the way he wanted to. Lapalu has a total of 12 hectares of old vines, ranging from 60 to 80 years old. He uses no chemicals in the vineyards, the grapes are grown according to organic principles, and he is currently in the process of converting to Biodynamics. All of the grapes are hand-picked, and no Sulphur Dioxide is used in the winemaking (this can be risky, as the sulphur helps to prevent the juice spoiling, and the wine can be ruined if the grapes and vinification are not both handled very carefully).

This is Jean-Claude’s top cuvee “La Croix des Rameaux“, the vines grow on steep slopes near his winery in Saint-Etienne-la-Varenne. The wine is not made with “carbonic maceration” (one of the more common wine-making techniques in Beaujolais) but with a traditional fermentation. The wine is then aged in 3 to 5 year old barrels for around 9 months.

Tasting Note Fruit DayFruit Day
The first time I had this wine was at Terroirs Wine Bar (Charing Cross, London) and I enjoyed it so much that I went straight out and bought another bottle. This, as you may have gathered, is not your standard Beaujolais. It has all of the fun and fruit of a good Beaujolais, but with real depth and complexity. 

The nose has exquisite aromas of rich blackcurrants, black cherries, violets. All of this is complemented by undertones of freshly cut hay. The palate is juicy, and elegant, with an attractive backbone; thanks to the ripe tannins, and firm acidity. The mouth-feel is velvety and amazingly textured; it lingers on the palate for minutes leaving you with a fresh mineral taste.

June 2011

Jean-Claude Lapalu Brouilly 2009
Country: France
Region: Brouilly
Vintage: 2009
Alcohol: 13.5%
Grape Variety:
Where To Buy:
Marc Fine Wines, Les Caves de Pyrene, Joseph Barnes Wines, The Sampler – older vintage, Wine-Searcher
Tags: Wine of the Week, France, Beaujolais, Jean-Claude Lapalu, Gamay, Brouilly, Croix des Rameaux, Red Wine