“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 Morgon 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 Morgon 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.” – Kermit Lynch Wine Merchant
Organically farmed 8.6 hectares vineyard of 10 to 90+ year old Gamay vines on schist, granite, and mangenese. Highly selective hand harvested and sorted. Traditional, whole cluster fermentation lasting three to four weeks. Aged for 6-9 months in used Burgundy barrels (minimum two years old). Unfiltered and without any SO2 during vinification.
“Foillard’s 2020 Morgon Côte du Py bursts with aromas of peonies, orange rind, exotic spices and dark berries. Medium to full-bodied, fleshy and layered, it’s deep and concentrated, with a rich core of fruit, tangy acids, powdery tannins and a long, sapid finish. Intensely flavored and incisive, at this early stage the 2020 looks to be one of the finest vintages of this cuvée in recent years. – 2021-2040” – 95 points, Wine Advocate (WK)
As I’ve written before, it’s an open secret that this is one of the region’s finest, most consistent addresses, and the just-released 2020 vintage has turned out especially well. Jean and Agnès Foillard’s first vintage was in 1981, but it was in 1985 that Jean began to work differently, influenced by his neighbor, the late Marcel Lapierre. Lapierre followed négociant and microbiologist Jules Chauvet in rejecting selected yeasts and manipulative winemaking in favor of minimal effective sulfur dioxide and carbonic maceration at comparatively low temperatures. Today, Foillard remains true to that approach: His Morgon cuvées see some three weeks of maceration in tank before gentle pressing and élevage in used Burgundy barrels. Chaptalization is eschewed. He also gives his wines a little bottle age before release. Despite his identification with the natural wine movement, Foillard has no tolerance for slovenly winemaking practices or flawed wines, and a large production notwithstanding, his bottles are typically models of aromatic purity and graceful aging.”
“Racy wild strawberries and raspberries with white pepper, agave and dried herbs. Fresh, medium-bodied palate with silky, refined tannins spreading evenly across the palate. Juicy and bright finish with lovely, herbal allure. Extremely drinkable now, but will hold, too.” 95 points, James Suckling (August 2022)