Jean Foillard Beaujolais Villages 2019
There is Beaujolais, and then there’s Beaujolais like Jean Foillard Beaujolais.
For those of you who know the name, just skip right over my text as there is very little that I can add to the legendary figure and his lip-smackingly delicious wines. Well, I can add one thing – we actually got an allocation of them, something that has only happened once prior in our 16-year history.
Now, let me turn it over to Kermit Lynch, his longtime American importer, for the backstory:
“Jean and Agnès Foillard took over his father’s domaine in 1980, and soon thereafter began to make Kermit Lynch customers very happy.
“Most of their vineyards are planted on the Côte du Py, the famed slope outside the town of Villié-Morgon and the pride of Morgon. These granite and schist soils sit on an alluvial fan at the highest point above the town and impart great complexity.
“However, great real estate is not the only key to Foillard’s success. Early on, Jean began to follow the teachings of Jules Chauvet, a traditionalist who defied everything that the more commercial brands were touting in the region. Jean and three other local vignerons, Marcel Lapierre, Jean-Paul Thévenet, and Guy Breton, soon joined in on the movement. This Gang of Four, as Kermit christened them, called for a return to the old practices of viticulture and vinification: starting with old vines, never using synthetic herbicides or pesticides, harvesting late, rigorously sorting to remove all but the healthiest grapes, adding minimal doses of sulfur dioxide or none at all, and refusing both chaptalization and filtration. The end result allows Beaujolais to express itself naturally, as it should be without the bubblegum and banana aromas of so many other Beaujolais available today. Its rustic structure, spicy notes, and mineral-laden backbone are what real Beaujolais is all about.
“This estate comprises nearly fourteen hectares. Foillard’s Morgons are deep, structured, and complex, with a velvety lushness that makes them irresistible when young despite their aging potential. Jean raises his wines in older barrels sourced from top estates in Burgundy, a logical decision for someone crafting Gamay in a Burgundian style. It is the passion and dedication of vignerons like this that have brought pride back to the crus of the Beaujolais.”
This wine, the Beaujolais Villages, is Gamay 20 – 55 years old, completely planted on granite soils, with parcels located in the villages of Villié-Morgon, Lancié, Saint-Amour, and St-Etienne-La-Varenne. To my palate, it completely fulfills the quote of “velvety lushness… irresistible when young.” That pretty much exactly sums up what this wine is. It’s utterly exciting, yet oh-so-easygoing at the same time. Chuggable as a cocktail, but perfect at the table as well.
Last year the allocation for Jean Foillard’s wines opened up so we went ahead and got in line. This is delicious stuff, and definitely one not to miss!