Terroir-Driven and Ageworthy Cru Beaujolais

Today’s Story: Jean Foillard

Jean Foillard is one of the most highly-regarded producers in Beaujolais, though his status stretches throughout all of France as well. Jean and Agnès Foillard took over Jean’s father’s domaine in 1980, and their holdings today consist of almost 14 hectares (34 acres) of vineyards with many planted on the famed Côte du Py in the cru of Morgon. Since taking over, Jean follows the teachings of Jules Chauvet who was a staunch traditionalist in Beaujolais. Jean farms all of his vineyards organically with zero synthetic herbicides or pesticides, then harvests the fruit manually before rigorous sorting to ensure only the highest quality fruit makes it into the wines. The fruit sees traditional semi-carbonic maceration and fermentation with only native yeasts, and minimal or zero sulfur is added throughout the winemaking process. Jean never engages in chaptalization, ages his wines in used Burgundy barrels, and bottles the wines without filtration. The end result yields wines that are elegant, complex, and structured while showcasing the terroir in honest fashion. Like most Beaujolais these are delicious in their youth, but they often have the structure of ageworthy examples as well.

Today’s Wine: 2018 Morgon Eponym

100% Gamay; 14.5% ABV

The 2018 Morgon Eponym is deep purple in color and completely opaque. Given some time to open up in the glass, the wine blossoms with aromas of medium (+) intensity and a nose that showcases black cherry, plum, blackberry, granite, mint, underbrush, pencil shavings, cracked black pepper, and crushed rock mineral. Meanwhile the flavors are of medium intensity and the palate displays notes of black cherry, black plum, anise, red meat, iron, wet gravel, charred green herbs, and smoke. This dry red is medium-bodied with high acidity, low tannins, high alcohol, and a medium (+) length finish. This was somewhat jammy out of the gates, so it definitely needs the air time at this point in its life.

Price: $45. I was a little worried out of the gates with this wine in terms of a value perspective (due to how jammy it came across), however as this opened up over the course of 45 minutes or so the quality and value proposition showcased itself. This is a beautiful Cru Beaujolais while being fairly complex and finessed but with the structure to drink well for several years ahead.

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