Don't have an account?
Register here to comment on this blog

rss feed

A Marcel Lapierre Appreciation

Yes, he was a great bon vivant....yes, Marcel made great Beaujolais....yes, he helped reshape the Beaujolais.

I'm reading these truisms in all the obituaries that have appeared about Le Marcel. Lapierre was an exceptional vigneron and personality, but his influence spread far past Villié-Morgon. In the early 1980s, when industrial farming and winemaking had ravaged the French countryside, Lapierre lead a movement to fight back and champion nature.

Marcel was the generational transition, interpreter and ambassador of Jules Chauvet. It was Marcel who popularized Chauvet's ideas, after Chauvet died in 1989, and convinced younger vignerons that Chauvet's insistence on natural yeasts, working the land without agrochemicals, and using minimal sulphur would make beautiful and succulent wines. Les Vins Gouleyant.

An entire generation of vignerons wanted to make wines like Marcel. Wines with no sulphur, no additives, no spoofulation and no pretense. Wines overflowing with honesty, flavor and nuance. Marcel acted as this generation's leader with incredible generosity and civility - it was if he was born for the role.

Chauvet was a Beaujolais négociant and researcher who was never well known during his lifetime. A small group including Lapierre, Pierre Overnoy, Jean Thevenet worked well with Chauvet and appreciated his studies on yeast strains and aromatics. Chauvet's written works are substantive and too scientific for someone like me, but the best proof of his ideas was not a manifesto, blog or movement. It was a bottle of Lapierre's Morgon.

The Natural Wine Movement that Marcel inspired was never codified. There is no manifesto, no rules, no codes. It was very much a movement of copinage (I don't really know a good translation for this word, but you might try a google search). There were early excesses and there are current failures. But over the years, Lapierre mastered the craft of natural winemaking and his wines even became reliable. Reliably delicious.

Today's loss is more than a loss for his family and the Beaujolais region. Marcel revolutionized the French and Italian wine scene and inspired others to follow. He was generous with his time, his knowledge and his homemade saucisson (particularly, Le Petit Jésus Cuit).

It was a privilege to have known him, if only slightly.

There will be a tribute to Marcel at Ten Bells in NYC on Tuesday at 7 pm. Nothing fancy, no speeches and plenty of wine from Marcel and Ses Enfants.[/quote]

i know nothing but that made me wish i did. well done. glass raised.

Joe Dressner - Captain Tumor Man!

Hi, I'm Joe Dressner the famous wine importer and I have brain cancer!

I already have a wine blog and frankly wine is such a luxury business that I hate to mix my cancer problems with my wine observations. I think it would be a general downer for the lifestyle crowd out there.

Furthermore, we in the wine trade always claim there are tremendous health benefits to drinking wine. I've already had cardiovascular bypass surgery over eight years ago and now I got a tumor aggressively rattling in my brain. My colleagues in the glamorous wine industry want me to keep it quiet.

So, I've started this wonderful new blog to discuss wine, brain tumors, my life and to give you hot tips on handling the cancer stricken around you. There will also be practical wine/radiation pairings when I start radiation therapy and chemotherapy next week.

Having brain cancer means I might both physically and intellectually decline. So, I will be using this blog as a venue to pursue petty vendettas against relatives, acquaintances and people in the wine trade.

I might also lose touch with reality and say things that are not true or are only half true. The important thing is to have fun and enjoy this rare and precious time in my life.

One of my pet vendettas is my cousin Dr. Barbara Hirsch. Dr. Barbara Hirsch is a very important Great Neck Endocrinologist, who was raised and nurtured by my parents. Dr. Hirsch waited until my father was near death and my mother was suffering from a rare neuromuscular disorder, to write them a seven page letter denouncing them for being horrible to her for the entirety of her life! Despite my concerns, Dr. Hirsch still refuses to apologize.

Last night, I drank a beautiful bottle of Bourgueil Clos Sénéchal 2005 from Pierre Breton. It was sublime and reminded me that I used to be healthy. Not only that, the vineyard used to be there before I existed. It exists independently of my having cancer and will continue to exist. You ought to buy some.

August 2009 Postscript: Not only does it exist independently of my cancer, it also exists independently of Louis/Dressner Selections. After 18 years, they have dumped us for Kermit Lynch. Oh well. At least I'm alive!