JEAN FOILLARD, Villié-Morgon
‘Of all the disciples of Jules Chauvet, Jean Foillard is the most likely to succeed in the practice of using very little SO2, without having his wines act capriciously at the slightest change in atmospheric pressure. His wines possess magnificent body and give aromas of a unique purity and grace.’ La Revue de France
“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
‘There is something no-nonsense and straightforward about Foillard’s wine. It seems to say, let’s cut straight to deliciousness. Deliciousness with class. It has a wonderful texture going down. The finesse from start to finish seems almost offhanded.’ Kermit Lynch
Jean Foillard’s estate comprises of 11 ha, including 5 ha in the fabled Côte de Py climat. A vigneron like Jean Foillard doesn’t come around too often. Jean Foillard and his wife Agnès started their handkerchief-size domain in Morgon in the 1980’s when the majority of appellation, driven by big negoces, were and are still producing industrial wines. Undeterred by their surroundings, Jean and Agnès decided to embark on their own path. They returned to honest vine growing and wine making the way their grandparents did. The vines are grown organically. The same attention is paid in their cellar. There are no pumps to move the wines at any stage in the chai. Every move of the wine in the cellar, from racking to bottling, is done by gravity. There are no additives in the cellar to hide shortcuts in the vineyards because there are no shortcuts in the vineyards. The hand-harvested grapes are fermented using natural yeasts only.
Morgon Côte de Py is grown on arguably one of the best site of the entire Beaujolais region, where the vineyards grow on slopes with crumbly schists soil that give Gamay a unique expression. The hill is actually an extinct volcano, with lots of different types of soils depending of the plots.
‘A game-changer in my wine life. Its cloudy ruby colour will remain forever etched on my mind as will its beautiful perfume of wild red berries. The palate was packed full of deep, lush cherry fruit and then something rather unexpected…the structure! Oh yes, alongside all those wonderful aromatics and flavours there was…wait for it….tannins! At this point tasting notes become irrelevant – this wine will drive you to thoughts not countenanced by the WSET.’ Paddy Murphy, The Vine Inspiration