Grapelive: Wine of the Day November 20, 2018

2016 Jean Foillard, Morgon “Cote du Py” Cru Beaujolais, France.
One of Gamay’s most respected and most sought after superstars, the Jean Foillard Cote du Py is a gorgeous wine of class, divine balance and detail, it achieves what it does with charm and subtly, rather than any in your face overtness. This 2016 flows with beautiful layers of dark fruits, delicate floral notes, earthy/brambly spice and a touch of beet root. Foillard’s Cote du Py mostly old vine Morgon, is not just one of the world’s best Gamay wines, it’s one of France’s great wines period, it’s always a beauty with a soul that transcends varietal and speaks of place first and foremost and is highly prized and sought after for it’s class and depth that rivals top offerings in the Cote d’Or. Importer Kermit Lynch waxes lyrically about Foillard and his wines and are part of his gang of four, M. Lapierre, Thevenet, Guy Breton and Foillard that started the Cru Beaujolais revolution for his portfolio, which have changed minds about what Gamay and especially what this Cru village of Morgon can do, they join Fleurie’s Dutraive as the core of Beaujolais champions. According to Lynch, Jean and Agnès Foillard took over his father’s domaine in 1980, and soon thereafter began to make (his) Kermit Lynch’s customers very happy with stunning wines, and Jean followed the teachings of Jules Chauvet, a traditionalist that believed in organic and natural wines way before it was a thing. 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. Kermit goes on to add, Jean along with the gang of four (that included the famed late Marcel Lapierre, with son Mathieu and daughter Camille now continuing, Jean-Paul Thévenet, and Guy Breton) never uses synthetic herbicides or pesticides, harvesting later, rigorously sorting to remove all but the healthiest grapes, adding only minimal doses of sulfur dioxide or sometimes none at all, and refusing both chaptalization and filtration in their wines. This end result allows Morgon Cru to express itself naturally, as it should be without that overly bubblegum and banana aromas that mark so many other Beaujolais available today, instead showing a rustic structure, spicy notes, and mineral-laden backbone this what real Morgon is all about. I would absolutely agree and I have long been a huge fan of these wines, especially Foillard who uses mostly ex-Burgundy barriques, sometimes sourced from the fabled Romanee-Conti, he uses 100% whole cluster fermentation mostly in concrete vats that lasts 3 to 4 weeks before raising the wine in barrel for between 6 and 9 months, in the case of this Cote du Py. The vines are up to 90 years old here and while a few young ones make up a small percent overall there is that old vine character that shines through as well as the class of the terroir that comes from it’s Schist, Granite and Manganese soil makeup. Layers of plum, blackberry, violets, walnut essence, a touch of green herb, sugar beet and hint of straw along with anise, mineral and citrusy acids all make appearances in this medium framed Morgon that feels just a bit sharp and raw on the palate, which doesn’t take away from any of the racy pleasures in this well crafted 2016 version, it is not a criticism of the wine, rather just the vintage reality, it just lacks the hedonism of the 2015 without being at all disappointing, it is racy on it’s own, but much more intriguing with cuisine, gaining refinement and dimension with food, drink over the next 3 to 5 years.
($48 Est.) 92 Points, grapelive