2019 Jean Foillard, Morgon “Cote du Py” Cru Beaujolais, France.
The 2019 vintage of Foillard’s legendary Cote du Py Moron is very perky and possesses absolute clarity of form with a striking burst of energy on the dark fruited and aromatic palate, it shows pretty violets, tangy black currant, wild plum, pomegranate and tarty fresh bing cherry along with a hint of hard wood, anise, blood orange, flinty stones, minty herb, subtle earthy tones and zesty dusty spices. This year is less concentrated and ripe, adding an extra degree of freshness and poise, so a more cool tone emerges in the glass in this more nuanced version. As always, this Foillard delivers outstanding quality, with a beautiful bright ruby hue, a heavenly nose and textural pleasure once fully open, this is, as per normal, one of my favorite wines with the grace and presence of a excellent Burgundy and while cheap, it is worth every penny. Coming from organic grapes and made with ultra low SO2, Foillard’s Cote du Py bottling is sourced from vines that range from 10 to 90 years old and that are set on the granite based soils, with some schist and veins of manganese that adds to this wine’s distinct complexity and personality. Jean Foillard is at the top of his game here, there are few better with Gamay than him, but it is nice that a new generation of Foillard making a name for himself now, with Jean’s son Alex now making some outstanding wines as well, it is a great time to discover these wines, they are wonderful expressions of terroir and absolutely delicious stuff. I look forward to the latest releases here too, as the 2020s have just come out, but I do like to age my Foillards for 3 to 5 years at least.

The much admired vigneron Jean Foillard, as mentioned here in many prior reviews, was greatly inspired by natural wine guru Jules Chauvet, a traditionalist who led the natural wine movement in the Beaujolais and redefined the wines of the region and who wanted to go back to pre-industrial style organic farming and not use chemical additives in the cellar. Jean and three other local vignerons, Marcel Lapierre, Jean-Paul Thévenet, and Guy Breton joined in on this movement, this became the Gang of Four, a nickname coined by the famed importer Kermit Lynch, who brought these masterpieces of Gamay to America, along with Dutraive and others brought critical acclaim to this region that had been badly maligned for generations. Foillard took over his father’s domaine in 1980, with stellar vineyard holdings mainly in the revered Côte du Py, as Kermit Lynch notes, the famed slope outside the town of Villié-Morgon and the pride of the Morgon cru. These granite and schist soils sit on an alluvial fan at the highest point above the town and impart great complexity on these wines. Jean Foillard, who hand crafts his wines using native yeasts and using traditional 100% whole cluster with a long gentle maceration that usually lasts just over 3 weeks and raises his wines in older barrels, always well seasoned and sourced from top estates in Burgundy, including the Domaine de la Romanee-Conti. This elevage of the Cote du Py in the used French barriques is between 6 to 9 months, normally, depending on the vintage and always to preserve energy, transparency and purity. Not always easy to find, these Foillard’s are always treats, I truly cherish every bottle I get and recommend them, especially this one, Jean’s unique Fleurie (Black Label) and the Cuvée Corcalette, wholeheartedly!
($50 Est.) 94 Points, grapelive

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