Marcel Lapierre • Natural Wine Pioneer
Natural Wine Producers

Marcel Lapierre • Natural Wine Pioneer


One of the founders of the natural wine movement in France is widely regarded the French winemaker Marcel Lapierre. A new generation of winemakers has been inspired to embrace natural techniques and minimal intervention in their work by Lapierre's approach to winemaking, which emphasized minimal intervention and the use of natural methods.

Lapierre was born in 1950, in the center of the Beaujolais region, in Villié-Morgon. Lapierre grew up in the vineyards, where his father, Camille Lapierre, also made wine, picking up the trade at a young age. Lapierre was greatly influenced by the writings of chemist and winemaker Jules Chauvet, who promoted a simple method of winemaking that aimed to let the wine express the terroir and personality of the grapes.

The tenets of Chauvet's philosophy served as the foundation for Lapierre's winemaking. He practiced minimal intervention winemaking, allowing the wine to ferment and age naturally without undue intervention, and he was a strong proponent of using native yeasts and avoiding the use of chemical additives. Lapierre's wines are renowned for their fruit purity and lively acidity because they are produced using the traditional Beaujolais method of carbonic maceration.

Lapierre's wines gained a following among fans of natural wines quickly, and his method of winemaking inspired a new generation of vignerons to use natural methods and little intervention. Lapierre's impact on the natural wine movement is perhaps best illustrated by the fact that he is frequently referred to as one of the "Gang of Four," a group of natural winemakers that also includes Jean Foillard, Guy Breton, and Jean-Paul Thévenet.

Lapierre's winemaking philosophy and his dedication to natural methods and interventions had an impact on all of these winemakers. The influence of Lapierre on the wine industry is substantial though at the beginning he found a lot of opposition from the establishment. He demonstrated that wines of great depth and complexity could be made with natural methods and little intervention in the cellar. Lapierre's approach to winemaking encouraged a new generation of winemakers to use natural methods and avoid additives in their production.

Lastly, Lapierre was a fervent supporter of environmental preservation and the significance of sustainability in agriculture. He tirelessly promoted sustainable farming methods because he believed that winemakers had a duty to take care of the land and lessen the negative effects of their work on the environment.

Marcel's Wines

Marcel Lapierre was famous for his wines made using the traditional Beaujolais technique of carbonic maceration, which he took to new heights. These wines are known for their fruit-forwardness, bright acidity, and, smooth texture. Lapierre's wines were made from the Gamay grape. Gamay is the most widely planted grape varietal in the Beaujolais region of France.

One of Lapierre's most well-known wines was his Morgon. Morgon is one of the appellations of Beaujolais, one of the so-called Cru Beaujolais – the best and most sought-after Beaujolais wines. The wine is medium-bodied, with bright red fruit flavors, hints of earth, and some spice, depending on the vintage. Lapierre used to age his Morgon Beaujolais in oak barrels for a short period to add a subtle layer of complexity and structure to the wine without overpowering the fruity character.

Lapierre also produced other wines, including a Fleurie, a Chénas, and a Vin de Pays des Gaules. All of Marcel's wines were made from grapes farmed organically without the use of pesticides or any other chemical product.

The Lapierres Today

Marcel Lapierre's estate is now run by his son, Mathieu Lapierre, who continues his father's legacy of producing natural wines using traditional Beaujolais techniques. Mathieu took over the estate in 2010 after his father's passing, and he has worked to maintain the same high standards of winemaking that his father established.

Mathieu is committed to organic and biodynamic farming practices, and he works closely with the vineyards to ensure that the grapes are of the highest quality. Like his father, Mathieu also employs minimal intervention in the winemaking process, allowing the wine to ferment and age naturally without the use of excessive manipulation or chemical additives.

Under Mathieu's leadership, the estate has continued to produce high-quality wines that reflect the unique terroir of the region. His wines have been well-received by critics and natural wine enthusiasts alike, and they have helped to cement the Lapierre family's reputation as one of the leading producers of natural wines in France.