Maison Lapalus/Bertrand Bespoke is a winemaking project founded by an itinerant Burgundy native named Gilles Lapalus who spent decades making wine in France, Italy, and Chile before settling down in south Australia’s Victoria region in the early 2000s. Although he cheekily claims to have relocated to Australia in order to “get as far away from my family as possible,” he’s clearly fallen in love with the adventurous and irreverent spirit of the underground Aussie wine scene. Gilles was one of the first winemakers in Australia to introduce biodynamics to vineyards and one of the first to champion planting Italian grape varieties (helping pave the way for our friends at Delinquente!). All of Gilles’ wines are made with organic or organic transitioning fruit and fermented with wild yeasts, and he eschews filtration and additives, with the exception of small amounts of sulfur depending on the cuvee.
The Historical Australian Red is made with an eye towards the kinds of everyday table wines that were common in Australia prior to the efflorescence of Parker-style fruit bombs that came to dominate the country’s winemaking culture. It’s vinified from an unusual blend of Mourvedre, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, and Nebbiolo, all sourced from a single, limestone rich vineyard. The varieties are fermented separately (with the Mourvedre seeing 60% whole cluster infusion), after which they’re blended and transferred to neutral barrels to rest for 18 months. The resulting wine is savory, earthy, and structured with dark fruit notes taking a back seat to herbs, spice, and forest floor. It retains plenty of bright acidity and good tension, making it a perfect food wine and it’ll go really well with anything smoky or grilled.
-James (Left Bank)