2018 marks the fourth year that Morgon natural winemaking scion Camille Lapierre—daughter of the late, legendary winemaker Marcel Lapierre—and her close friends have organized the Festival Dézing, a three-day event taking place at the Aerodrôme de Pizay just south of Villié-Morgon in the Beaujolais.
Attracting close to 3,000 attendees each year, principally from the surrounding Rhône-Alpes department, the Festival Dézing is a colorful and freewheeling extravaganza encompassing concerts, theatrical performances, a market for local artisans, children’s entertainment, air shows, a campgrounds, food stands by acclaimed chefs, and, not insignificantly, an almost comically well-stocked wine bar. For just 13€-a-bottle one can enjoy the wines of the crème-de-la-crème of the region’s natural winemakers, from Côte de Brouilly wünderkind Pierre Cotton to the hotly-tipped Franco-American couple Domaine Chapel to the wines of the Lapierre family themselves. Not to be outdone, the list of white wines, while small, is similarly stellar, boasting contributions from Mâconnais estates like Domaine Valette, Domaine Robert-Denogent, and Céline and Laurent Tripoz.
Highlights from this year’s edition included “Les Thierrys,” a food stand offering a Brittany—Charentais twist on street food by veteran bistronomy chefs Thierry Breton (of Paris’ Chez Michel, Chez Casimir, and La Pointe du Grouin) and Thierry Faucher (of Paris’ L’Os à Moëlle and Le Barbezingue in nearby Chatillon), as well as a joyous performance by Lyon-based blues-garage band The Buttshakers. As with each year, however, the star of the show was the winemaking community itself, with winemakers from throughout the Beaujolais region and beyond rejoicing at the occasion to catch up before harvest.
Many winemakers come to hang at the festival’s bar, but just as many work at the event itself. One sees Quincié’s Jean-François Cuzin surveilling the parking lot; Blacé’s Sylvère Trichard (of Séléné) serves drinks at the bar; Chiroubles’ winemaker Pauline Passot takes tickets at the entry; behind her is the kindly matriarch of Domaine Lapierre and Château Cambon, Marie Lapierre, in charge of the cash register.
Sprudge Wine caught up with Camille Lapierre during the festivities to chat a bit about the origins of what is fast becoming the other major event of the calendar year in the Beaujolais.
What originally inspired the Festival Dezing?
It was the idea of a group. We found that there weren’t enough things happening in the rural milieu in the Beaujolais. We wanted to promote the Beaujolais, and to improve the bad image that people might have of the Beaujolais. In the beginning there was [Régnié winemaker] Charly Thévénet, [graphic designer] Marie-Blandine Roussel, Anna Lochmann, there was [Domaine Jean-Paul Thévénet cellar hand] Mich, and Pierre-Jean Dautun. And Laure Foillard [daughter of Morgon winemaker Jean Foillard].
Where does the name Dezing come from?
It was Charly Thévénet who found the name. The zinc—it’s in the airplanes, it’s in the [classic bistrot] bars too. And the reference to dézinguer, which means to massacre, to kill everything. It’s a verb.
Who does the musical program?
It’s Lucille Perdrix, and [Chiroubles winemaker] Pauline Passot, and myself. And France Breton [daughter of Loire winemakers Catherine and Pierre Breton].
What kind of atmosphere do you seek to create?
It’s an familial ambience, an ambience where everyone can meet and discuss together. We try to restrain the seating capacity, so that it doesn’t become something huge. It’s an ambience where people enjoy themselves, seeing interesting performances, listening to good music, eating well, and drinking well.
The wine bar is amazing. How do you organise the selection?
We don’t select. We propose to all the winemakers of the Beaujolais if they’d like to participate in the event and promote their wines, and we do the communication for them on the social networks and the internet and all that. And all the winemakers who want to participate in the event are welcome.
There’s no definitive style of wine; it’s like the music. We do a tour of the winemakers at the “Bien Boire en Beaujolais” tasting, and there’s everything there. There’s the conventional winemakers, there’s the organic winemakers, there’s the natural winemakers. This year there’s 110 references.
What’s been the biggest challenge organizing the event over the last four years?
To organize an event without being a professional event organizer. Let’s say the biggest challenge was the event itself. We’re 130 volunteers. It’s the equivalent of the population of Pizay.
Aaron Ayscough is the author of the wine blog Not Drinking Poison In Paris. His writing about wine and restaurants has appeared in The Financial Times, The New York Times: T Magazine, and Fantastic Man.