2019 Brouilly, La Croix des Rameaux, Jean-Claude Lapalu, Beaujolais, France
£19 per bottle in bond, laywheeler.com
I am aware that I reviewed a Côte de Brouilly only last week, but the repetition is not an oversight. I feature here the most delicious and noteworthy bottle of wine that I taste each week, regardless of style, so I am the first to admit it is a little odd to read about two elite Beaujolais in only eight days. But by the time you slap duty and VAT on the price of La Croix des Rameaux, you will end up at £25, so this is far from a regular Bojo. With stunning balance and tenderness coupled with epic cherry fruit notes, which come from ancient vines, all held together with a stern backbone of minerality and rigidity, this is an unnervingly serious wine and I urge you to taste it.
Not content with just one Lapalu to shout about, 2019 Eau Forte, Vin de France (also £19 in bond) is a wild, light, painfully pale and intriguingly gluggable vin de soif. Made from 100% whole bunches and with no additions of sulphur, this is a rare and genuinely delicious “natural” wine, which Lapalu releases under the lowly Vin de France classification because he is too frustrated with the AOC authorities not agreeing that a wine of this colour could indeed be a Beaujolais! A Vin de France can be any colour it likes and so Eau Forte literally wears its heart on its sleeve. Lapalu is an inspiration. Lay & Wheeler wine buyer Catherine Petrie MW has underlined her reputation as a knockout taster by tracking down these incredible wines.
Matthew Jukes is a winner of the International Wine & Spirit Competition’s Communicator of the Year (matthewjukes.com)