21 Oct Jean-Claude Lapalu

Domaine Jean-Claude Lapalu


lapalu_label_2014Jean-Claude Lapalu assumed control of just under 30 acres of Gamay from his father in 1996, and made his first commercial wines in 2000. His eight parcels of east and southeast facing vines are scattered from Mont Brouilly south through the rolling hills of Odenas and his hometown of Saint-Etienne-la-Varenne.

Jean-Claude’s most significant early influence came from the writings of Jules Chauvet, France’s Father of Natural Winemaking. He is committed to a strict organic regimen and employs several tenets of biodynamic viticulture. The domaine received its organic certification from Ecocert with the 2010 vintage but he has no interest in seeking any further bureaucratic validation.

Jean-Claude produces small lots of six distinct Gamays, each expressing different aspects of the Haut-Beaujolais’ diverse geology. Domaine Lapalu made its debut in La Revue du Vin’s annual Classement des Meilleurs Vins de France (Best Wines of France) in 2009. La Revue’s tasting panel writes, “We were seduced by the quality of his wines…We salute the pursuit of maturity and concentration, which inevitably requires effort in limiting yields and taking risks in pushing the date of harvest (translation).”


Vines & Wines: Beaujolais-Villages Vieilles Vignes: 17.3 acres of Gamay averaging 45 years of age
Brouilly Vieilles Vignes: 7.4 acres of Gamay averaging 60 years of age
Côte de Brouilly: 2.47 acre (one hectare) single parcel of 60-year-old Gamay
Brouilly La Croix des Rameaux: 2.47 acre (one hectare) single parcel of Gamay
Soil: La Croix des Rameaux parcel on 30-40cm of granite sand over granite and schist
Other Brouilly parcels on degraded pink Odenas granite with mineral-rich clays
Côte de Brouilly parcel on granite sand with blue and black micas (diorite and biotite)
Note: The name Brouilly is derived from brûlé, meaning burned, and relates to the “burnt rock” appearance of much of the soil in the two southernmost Beaujolais crus.
Harvest: Manual harvest
Yields: Average 35-40 hectoliters/hectare
Vinification & Elevage: Whole cluster fermentation (without crushing). Carbonic method used for Beaujolais-Villages V.V. and Brouilly V.V. All wines fermented in stainless steel tanks. Beaujolais-Villages V.V. and Brouilly V.V. bottled in early April after brief six-month élevage. Only partial carbonic used for Côte de Brouilly and Croix des Rameaux. Elevage for these wines takes place in five-to-ten-year-old neutral barriques. Wines are bottled without filtration just prior to the following year’s harvest.
Annual Production:
60,000 bottles / 5,000 cases combined