JEAN FOILLARD, Villié-Morgon
“Take the Foillards in Morgon, for example. Morgon is in the heart of the Beaujolais, and is as tumblingly pretty a winegrowing landscape as you can find anywhere. Jean Foillard is one of the region’s greatest growers, and he has a big parcel of vines up on the Côte de Py, whose iron-stained, ‘rotten’ (or crumbled) schist soils produce wines out of which regiments of cherries march like gleaming toy soldiers.
His wife, Agnès, has turned their rambling old farm into a warm, modern guesthouse where I stayed that night, eating, as darkness fell, with her and the children. When we had tasted wine a little earlier, the children were playing in the courtyard; an old neighbour (the man who organised the village band) had dropped in; other guests had arrived, tasted and talked about the wine, comparing it to others they knew. Bordeaux, maybe… or a fresh red from Chinon… and what about Santenay?… or then there’s Poulsard from the Jura…
Their voices faded. I wrote in the book about the intense emotion Jean Foillard’s Morgon suddenly produced in me; what I didn’t write about was how, at the same moment, I was suddenly hit by an overwhelming sense of rootedness. The Foillards seemed, for a few moments, like their own vines, anchored in the Côte de Py, belonging to it, exploring it for a short lifetime, before their own children arrived, and their children’s children, and so on, like another line of toy soldiers, marching off into the future.” Andrew Jefford
Jean Foillard’s estate comprises of 11 ha, including 5 ha in the fabled Côte de Py climat. Jean uses the minimal interventionist viticulture, but his wines are neither officially organic nor biodynamic even though he actually applies many of the rules. The use of oak is minimum as the fruit and great terroirs are let to express themselves.
The Morgon has an impressive dark rubis robe, its nose shows fresh red berries, cinnamon and smoke. On the palate, crunchy red berries mingle with fleshy cherries, marzipan and herbal hints. The acidity balances the wine perfectly. The intensity and purity are reminiscent of a great Burgundy.
“ … … There remains a core of around two dozen excellent producers in the region, some of whom have returned to older, traditional methods of wine-making, and others who are now working bio-dynamically. All have a mission to produce quality wine. Sadly, Marcel Lapierre, known as the “pope of natural wine”, died late last year. If you do come across his Morgon, buy it straight away. As far as I know, his wines are no longer available in this country, but most of the other top producers are here, including Jean Foillard, the other man responsible for revitalising Beaujolais.
Morgon 2008 Foillard, 13%: Jean Foillard is one of the great winemakers of Beaujolais. His vineyards are mainly on the Côte du Py in Morgon. This is a stunning wine, packed with cool, dark fruits, good acidity, some grippy tannins and a lingering finish. It all comes together perfectly to form a beautifully balanced wine that will, I suspect, improve further. Try it with red meats. I would also try the 2008 Morgon Côte du Py, a wine with a serious reputation. Stockists: Le Caveau, Kilkenny, lecaveau.ie … “ John Wilson, Irish Times – March 19th, 2011