2011 Beaujolais Dinner TNs (Lapierre, Foillard, Roilette, others)

A friend whom I hadn’t seen in a while kindly invited me to a 2011 Beaujolais dinner he was hosting, pulling all of these wines, most of which he purchased on release, from his cellar. It has been a while since I’ve had Beaujolais, especially aged ones, and it was great to revisit the 2011 vintage.

I think the main takeaway for me is that, while it’s commonly known at this point that cru Beaujolais can age, it turned out many of these wines needed age to meet their full potential. Indeed, some of these wines (i.e., the special cuvees) were probably still too young and would have benefited from several additional years of slumber.

The wines were served single-blind in flights of two. Wines listed in the order they were served.

‘12 Debize Peau Verte Vin de France: Made from a grape variety called Tressalier, which I’m unfamiliar with. It’s an impressively rich and textured wine with great acidity and freshness. Electrified rocks with a hint of green apple. I wish I was able to spend more time with this, and someone wisely took the leftovers before I could make a claim. Great wine. I don’t think this is made anymore; literally a once-in-a-lifetime experience. I can’t help but feel a little sad about that.

Flight 1

‘11 Lapierre Morgon N (Sans Soufre): A tangy, punchy wine with great concentration (one person at the table called it beefy) and red-fruited intensity, but with a carbonic edge that makes it lively and electric. Some at the table pick up some brett on the nose, though it doesn’t really bother me. Perhaps not the most elegant or regal wine with its crunchy acidity and snap, but most certainly a living wine with an inimitable identity. It invoked intense feelings of nostalgia from my sense-memory and after tasting it, I had a strong certainty this was one of the Lapierre wines (admittedly, the red wax capsule poking through the wine bag was also a helpful clue).

I always feel some fondness for Lapierre Morgon. The ‘07 was one of my first “natural” wines, and it remains an important milestone for me in my wine journey. While it has been several years since I’ve had Lapierre, drinking this was like revisiting an old friend, and I was quite pleased to get reacquainted. While this is the first vintage made after Marcel Lapierre died (he passed in October 2010), this still feels stylistically very similar to the pre-2011, Marcel-era wines. My sentimental wine of the night.

‘11 Chermette Fleurie Les Garants: Rounder, earthier, darker-fruited, but arguably more elegant, than the ‘11 Lapierre Morgon. The acidity is pretty well integrated at this point and does not have the crunch of the other semi-carbonic wines at the table.Texturally, it has a polished, suave quality that becomes further refined with time in the glass. A good example of aged Beaujolais’s potential to “pinote.” I have found younger Chermette Les Garants to be a little monolithically fruity and foursquare, but drinking this demonstrates that this is a wine that needs time in the cellar to truly blossom.

Flight 2

‘11 Clos de la Roilette Fleurie Cuvee Tardive: Someone described the nose as “regal,” and I think that is quite accurate. It’s a subtle wine that’s understated, refined, and savory (though still dark-fruited) with a touch of smoky minerality and a nice, slightly herbal streak on the finish. Gets better and better in the glass and just exudes class. Probably objectively the best wine of the night. A wine to savor.

‘11 Desvignes Morgon Les Impenitents: Someone at the table called this wine confected, but I would characterize it as grapey and young. There’s also a distinctive spiciness on the finish; I originally thought it might be from the influence of oak (someone at the table thought this wine saw barrique), but I did some research and apparently it only sees cement vats. An ample, large-scaled wine, this could use more time to reach its potential.

Flight 3

‘11 Lapierre Morgon Cuvee Marcel: It was pretty easy to tell that this was the Cuvee Marcel: a plumper version of the regular Lapierre Morgon with generous red fruit and spiky acidity. Intensely lively on the palate, but, like the Les Impenitents, this needs more time in the cellar to smooth out the edges. This is good (though I preferred the regular Lapierre Morgon today).

‘11 Foillard Morgon Cote du Py: This was firing on all cylinders; it has a lot of the elegance of the Roilette, but has a slightly livelier acidic profile. The slightly darkish fruit is pleasantly restrained, giving this a rather savory flavor profile. Really, really good.

Flight 4

‘11 Bouland Morgon Les Delys: I found this rather boring, monolithic, and blowsy. There is a distinctive smokiness on the palate; comparing this to a foursquare Northern Rhone is not too off-based. This producer has never rung the bell for me, and this particular wine was no different.

‘11 Debize Beaujolais Derriere La Cravate: There’s a translucent quality to this wine’s fruit, framed with a bit of tangy edginess. Very elegant and delicate with a nice, silky finish. I could see some people saying this lacks concentration and is a bit hollow in the midpalate, but for me, this is absolutely lovely. Managed to hold its own with wines coming from a lot more prestigious dirt.

Flight 5

‘75 Drouhin Moulin a Vent: Maderized nose, but it gets better in the glass with time. Eventually, the maderized aroma blew off a little, and you get what I feel is an archetypal (and relatively anonymous) Old Red Wine flavor profile: some mushroom, decaying leaves, “sous bois,” and fragile fruit flavors.


you do not see debize mentioned very often; he made truly singular wines!

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What a truly fantastic tasting, and excellent notes. Thanks for sharing. I have always loved this vintage of Beaujolais. I still have a fair bit of the Roilette Cuvee Tardive and the Griffe du Marquis. And some older ones. This estate has always aged beautifully.

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That’s a fine tasting, and great descriptions, impressions and notes. I agree; these can age really well, and some need a lot of time to come into their own.
I went pretty deep on '11 (and 2014). I still have a magnum of the Roilette Tardive, plus several bottles and a mag of the Griffe. They both seem to age beautifully.
You liked most of what I have in the cellar. My other 2011’s include Georges Descombes Morgon Vermont Vieilles Vignes, Foillard Côte du Py, and Lapierre Morgon.
I just checked and see we have 10 cases of cru beaujolais in the cellar, with three times as much Roilette as anything else; Foillard and Lapierre tied for second. We’re not drinking as much as we used to, so it’s unlikely we’ll end up drinking all of the cru Beaujolais we’ve cellared. We’ll enjoy these for years, but others will eventually enjoy the fruits of our cellar.
Thanks for the notes.

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First time having the Debize wines – they were indeed singular and delicious! I wish I have some in my cellar.

I’m quite blessed to have very generous wine friends who have the foresight to age these wines. And, I agree with you, the Cuvee Tardive definitely ages beautifully (and really should be aged in order to fully bloom).

Right now, I only have '19 Griffe and '21 Tardive, and I plan on burying them. True vins de gardes.

You are lucky to have 10 cases of cru Beaujolais. And while Lapierre and Foillard are so joyous young, it was really interesting to taste and smell how much they improve with 13 years of age.

And crack open a bottle of your '11 Foillard and Lapierre if you have the time. They are in a great place right now!

Thank you for your kind words!

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These are wonderful notes. What a great opportunity. I have not had much '11. '15 was the vintage I got into (which turned our to be a good thing). Thanks for sharing!

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Thank you for the kind words!

Love the '11s, especially Foillard. Thanks for the check-in.

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Thanks for all the detail, I’ll save this thread :slight_smile:

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Great notes, thank you. 2011 was and still is my favourite Cru Beaujolais vintage. I bought more than 100 bottles from that vintage back then and still have 50 left. Most wines aged and still age super well. Love the Lapierre and Foillard. I’ve had phenomenal bottles of 2011 Cuvée Marcel, so I was a bit surprised that it did not show that well in your tasting. The Foillard 3.14 from 2011 is probably in my top 10 Beaujolais Cru of all times. The Desvignes Impenitents is a monster of a wine, very dense and backwards. I think it will eventually turn the corner, but not sure when. For some reason, the Bouland portfolio really didn’t develop as well as I hoped back then. Those wines were better young. I really love 2011 Moulin-à-Vents - Thibault Liger Belair, Jadot, Diochon, Labruyère, Château du Moulin-à-Vent, etc. They are also quite backwards, but age gracefully. I could go on and on. In fact, there are very few Bojo Crus from that vintage, which I don’t like.

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I think I may have been unintentionally harsh with my assessment of the Cuvee Marcel. I didn’t think it was bad, just too young. Much like the Desvignes Impenitent, I think time will help both wines improve considerably.

You’ll be drinking well for a long while! Great foresight buying deep.

Thanks for the notes!

I stopped drinking young Beaujolais years ago because it always seemed too acidic, austere and linearly primary to me. But for some reason I felt i was alone in this manner. But maybe im not crazy afterall…:wink:


I feel young Beaujolais has its place (sort of like drinking young pradikat Rieslings for the primary fruit), but mature Beaujolais is an equally joyous (if different) experience.

And some of these special cuvees like the Les Impenitents definitely need the time in bottle.