Sunday, May 23, 2010

2006 Chateau Cambon Beaujolais Villages Bourgogne France

Chateau Cambon Beaujolais Villages Bourgogne France

It all started in 1995, when Marie and Marcel Lapierre, in association with Jean Claude Chanudet (from “Domaine Chamonard”), purchased Château de Cambon, which was in bankruptcy. They brought a renaissance to the estate and restructured its vineyards.

Marie is managing it. Marcel Lapierre, her husband, who also owns a Domaine in Morgon (hence Domaine Marcel Lapierre), is the vineyard manager/winemaker and Jean Claude is in charge of all the technical and material part. Although Marcel adapts the same care and methods as with his own Domaine in Morgon, the three of them make the final decision regarding the wines.

Although the vineyard management is not technically Biodynamic or Organic, they use the “Lutte Raisonnée” method, which is quite close to both despite the use of chemicals when needed.

“Lutte Raisonnée” means that they adopt different attitudes and methods in the parcels depending on the vines, the nature of the soil, the environment and the necessary measures that need to be taken depending on the vintage, the weather and micro-climates. It also means that they only apply minimal or barely no use of chemicals treatment (pesticides, herbicides, etc) to fight diseases and fungus, only when really necessary. Also, when they do not use any chemical, they treat the vineyard with Biodynamic products and plow their vines.

The vineyards of this estate are located between the crus of Morgon and Fleurie. But due to bureaucratic indecisiveness between 1935 and 1936 when most Beaujolais and Cru Beaujolais AOC(s) were created, this vineyard was not included in either cru, but just given a Beaujolais-Villages designation. Since the owners at this time did not protest the decision, this land will forever be designated as Beaujolais-Villages or Beaujolais.

That said, Marie and Marcel believe that these wines show a marked resemblance to the Morgon cru. Marcel vinifies them in the same manner and enthusiasm as with his other wines at Domaine Lapierre in Morgon.

Harvests are done manually with serious sortings, made by each harvester when they pick the grapes in the vineyards, then re-verified when they empty their basket in the large bucket behind the tractor before going to the winery, and one last time at the winery.

Usually they only make 2 different wines, the rosé Beaujolais wine (wine of bleeding or “saignée”) to allow better concentration to their Beaujolais red and, thus, the red Beaujolais wine. Occasionally, when the vintages are very good, they also make the Cuvée “Le CAMBON”, a Beaujolais Villages that is made with the best grapes of the vintage from the older vines. When the vintage is not as good, they mix all the grapes and only produce the Beaujolais red. In any cases, they sell everything every year one way or another, which is another proof of the high quality of this estate and the people behind it.

All their wines are produce and vinified with all natural yeasts and without SO2 or “chaptalisation” in 40-75 hl foudres (large oak vats). Only tiny doses of sulphur are added to increase stability and avoid oxidation, but bottling occurs without filtration. The wines are as natural as can be and the result in the bottle is vibrant and alive.

2006 Chateau Cambon Beaujolais Villages Burgundy France
Suggested retail price $18-$21
Imported by Polaner Selection in NYC

The 2006 vintage is characterized by the ripeness but also the freshness of the fruit. Expressing the typical red fruits of Gamay combined with the minerality of the soil; this wine is quite delicious and somewhat elegant with a nice dose of earthiness.

Behind its deep red-purple color, which is by the way, slightly cloudy, this wine presents inviting and complex aromas of cherry-like fruit with earthy notes. A touch rustic, the palate is fresh and juicy, with red cherry fruit enhanced by a great acidity. The finish is a touch dry and needs a bit of food but has good structure overall.

Marcel Lapierre and his team once again managed to produce great Beaujolais that deserve some attention. Not to mention it again, but this is an unchaptalised, unfiltered, unfined, unsulphured wine from somewhat partly Biodynamic-Organic vines made by Beaujolais wizards that are very talented at what they do. Domaine Marcel Lapierre, Domaine Chamonard and Chateau Cambon are some of the best Beaujolais of the Morgon area and surely some of the most natural, really expressing the characteristics of their Terroir of origin.


LeDom du Vin

Info partly taken and edited from an email from Marie Lapierre to produce a technical sheet for Domaine Marcel Lapierre and Domaine Chamonard for Savio Soares (see also Savio Soares website at and from Chateau Cambon importer website at

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