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Senior editor Alison Napjus joined Wine Spectator in 2000. She is the lead taster for Alsace, Beaujolais and Champagne and also tastes wines from regions throughout Italy.
Alison Napjus

A Magical Beaujolais at a Manhattan Hotspot

M. Lapierre Morgon 2009

Alison Napjus
Posted: February 18, 2011

My boyfriend and I recently tried ABC Kitchen, Jean-Georges Vongerichten's farm-to-table restaurant focused on local, organic ingredients and eco-friendly design. We were drawn by the ample vegetarian fare on the menu (for my boyfriend; meat for me please) and executive chef Dan Kluger, who is a friend from my restaurant days.

The food didn't disappoint; I particularly enjoyed a pasta dish with spaghetti squash and tomato that was highlighted by a subtle citrus zest note. The restaurant had a good energy to it. It was full without being crowded, while the servers were easygoing and friendly yet still attentive and helpful. However, like any good "winovore," for me, it was the evening's bottle—the M. Lapierre Morgon 2009—that won out.

For France's Beaujolais region, 2009 is a standout vintage, arguably one of the best in the last 50 years. Marcel Lapierre, who sadly passed away last fall, is a top name for the area. So I was extremely pleased by this first opportunity to try the 2009 Morgon, particularly at an affordable $48 a bottle. The wine layered spice and sandalwood notes with abundant dark berry and fruit flavors. It had silky tannins and good focus throughout, but in a deft and elegant package. I rated it 93 points, non-blind, and from soup to cheese to pasta to mushrooms and pizza, this red provided a fine pairing with every aspect of our meal.

ABC Kitchen
35 East 18th St., between Broadway and Park Avenue South
New York, N.Y. 10003
Telephone: (212) 475-5829

WineSpectator.com members: Get scores and tasting notes for more recently rated 2009 Beaujolais.

Homer Cox
Warrenton, VA —  February 18, 2011 5:20pm ET
Alison, We rarely drink beaujolais but recently picked up four bottles of 2009 Georges Duboeuf Morgan Jean, WS 93, and so far and we both are thoroughly disappointed with the first two. Tasted flat and watery kind of like cherry Kool-Aid. Since we are inexperienced with this, are we under-appreciating the qualities of this particular wine? I understand this could be a difficult question to answer.
Alan Gavalya
Hampton, VA —  February 18, 2011 11:55pm ET
I purchased a case (pre-arrival) from Crush in July. After receiving the wine, shortly after Marcel's death and before I opened a bottle I received an email from Crush asking if I would consider trading any of my 750ml bottles for magnums. As it tuned out they had been given their full allocation and couldn't meet the demand from restaurants in the city. I couldn't make the trade because I have no room in my EuroCave for magnums but I agreed to send back six. After tasting it I was sorry I hadn't kept the whole case. I agree with the crew from Crush that this Beaujolais will stick around for a few years and perhaps even get a bit more interesting (I concur it is worthy of the 93 you gave it). Monsieur Lapierre gave us a great deal when he resisted the Nouveau craze and instead gave us the best that Gamay could deliver.
Perhaps it was one of the bottles I returned that graced your table at ABC Alison.
William Thomen
San Francisco —  March 14, 2011 8:11pm ET
Alison - I tried the 2009 Lapierre MMIV at a local wine shop and loved it. Although, this cuvee is clearly built for aging.

I see that you cover the wines of Beaujolais. Are we going to see an article on the 2009 vintage sometime soon?

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