Marcel Lapierre, Morgon

With the arrival of Lapierre's 2009 Morgon at the land of milk and honey, I decided the best way to welcome the new kid on the block was by saying goodbye to last year's model with a more detailed note than usual. Then, follow it up as soon as possible with the same for the 2009, and get as close as possible to a mini-vertical.

There is a minor debate as to how much the Beaujolais Crus resemble Burgundy's Pinot Noir; indeed whether we should even compare the Gamay grape to its more illustrious kin and not judge it by its own merits. Well, be that as it may, the aromatics on the 2008 are eerily close to the Cote d'Or's model, with fresh red fruit, forest floor and sweet spices. The palate is as fresh and approachable, even if it is less about fruit at first than it is about wet earth, and I think it might have fooled me had I drunk it blind, as it has a Pinot-ish sweetness mellowed with mildly spicy savoriness. If I have to make a call, I'd say the tannins here are not as sleek as a proper Bourgogne's - they exert a masculine grip, whereas even a Grand Cru has a more feminine rasp.

The higher arithmetic required to keep track of the flux of the balance between fruity and earthy flavors may be beyond me, but this wine remained delicious all evening long. (Dec. 23, 2010)

The 2009 is one of the darkest-hued Beaujolais I've tasted so far, and not only is its color much deeper than the 2008, its base tint seems to be purple rather than red. The first sniff shows a very mineral-laden character, an impression echoed on the initial sip as well. The structure is understated, yet forceful enough to give intellectual pause, making for an already lovely drop. The tannins here are more Bourgogne-like than the 2008's and they frame the fruit much more firmly, yet finely, than in the previous vintages that I'm familiar with. There is a greater abundance of fruit here, red and savory, and, on the whole, this feels like the more complete wine.

But I'm willing to throw the deep analyses into the shredder. The 2009 is a better wine because it's even more yummy than the 2008. (Dec. 25, 2010)