Morgon Classique Domaine Jean Foillard 2019
A natural, fleshy, complex Gamay. Although not officially certified organic or biodynamic, the Morgon wine from natural producer Jean Foillard is very pure – unfiltered, unfined, and unsulphured. The colour is ruby red with aromas of cherry, rhubarb and blackberry which evolve into dark chocolate. On the palate it’s extremely refreshing – bright sweet fruit is complemented by a silky smooth tannin structure. This is a bottle of Beaujolais which goes to prove that it can be both accessible and bright, yet also complex and serious at the same time. Delicious.
Suitable for Vegans: Yes
Suitable for Vegetarians: Yes
Food pairing: Honey-roasted poultry and light game, soft mature cheeses, butternut squash with puy lentils and terrines made with dried fruits such as cranberries or figs.
The Jean Foillard estate has a total surface of eleven hectares next to the fabled Côte du Py hillside, which is in fact an extinct volcano, which has a number of different soil compositions. On Foillard’s estate, the vineyards grow on slopes with crumbly schist soil that give Gamay a unique expression. Foillard now runs his estate with minimal intervention, though he chooses not to subscribe to any certification, despite adhering to many of the stipulations for organic and biodynamic. For him, the wines should speak for themselves and he should be able to respond to the needs of his vineyard without strict rules. This includes keeping whole clusters of grapes in vats for two to three weeks at a low temperature before fermentation using only natural yeast, no pumping, no fining and no filtration. Furthermore Jean Foillard ages his wine in barrels brought from the Domaine de la Romanée-Conti; the results are sublime. His cellar is fairly unsophisticated, and all the better for it. He buys one-year-old casks and uses them for ten years, rather than making wood one of the main components. He also has two foudres, one of which is over forty years old. His wines have a fantastic elegance and silky texture which raises them far above the level of what we would normally consider Beaujolais. He is a cult wine hero amongst the many young free-spirited vignerons in France who are now looking back to nature to make fine wine and is often considered the benchmark for entry-level Beaujolais.
Another great option for natural Beaujolais is this Brouilly from Jean-Claude Lapalu.