2017 Jean Foillard Morgon Eponym

Year: 2017
Appellation: Beaujolais
Country: France
Wine Advocate: 93
Vinous Media: 93
James Suckling: 92
Red Wine
Alcohol by Volume: 14.0%
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"The 2017 Morgon Eponym-which derives from the lieu-dit Charmes—wafts from the glass with aromas of cherries, dark chocolate, violets and rose petals. On the palate, it's medium to full-bodied, broad and fleshy, with a layered core, succulent acids and melting tannins. Open-knit and giving, this is a charming Eponym that's a touch more generous and sun-kissed than the 2016 rendition. It's an open secret that this is one of the Beaujolais's finest addresses. Jean and Agnès Foillard's first vintage was in 1981, but it was in 1985 that he began to work differently, influenced by his neighbor, the late Marcel Lapierre. Lapierre followed négociant and microbiologist Jules Chauvet in rejecting selected yeasts and manipulative wine making in favor of minimal effective sulfur dioxide and carbonic maceration at comparatively low temperatures. Today, Foillard remains true to that approach: His Morgon cuvées see some three weeks of maceration in tank before gentle pressing and élevage in used Burgundy barrels. Chaptalization is eschewed. He also gives his wines a little bottle age before release. His 2017s just arrived on the market this year, as most of his neighbors released their 2018s. Despite his identification with the natural wine movement, Foillard has no tolerance for slovenly winemaking practices or flawed wines, and his bottles are typically models of aromatic purity and graceful aging. I regularly purchase these wines for my own cellar and warmly recommend them to readers." (WA)

"Deep magenta. Black raspberry, cherry, violet, licorice and a hint of musky earth on the deeply perfumed nose. Offers concentrated, mineral-laced bitter cherry and dark berry flavors that become sweeter and more lively as the wine stretches out. Shows excellent depth as well as finesse and closes on a youthfully tannic note, with impressively persistent floral and mineral character. This year's version of this wine is at an equal quality level to the outstanding 2016, which is drinking beautifully right now, by the way." (VM)

"A red with iodine and berry character and hints of stones. Medium body, bright acidity and a granite undertone. Firm and fine. Drink now." (JS)

Winery Notes:
Jean and Agnès Foillard took over his father’s domaine in 1980, and soon thereafter began to make Kermit Lynch customers very happy. The biggest part 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. However, great real estate is not the only key to Foillard’s success. Early on, Jean began to follow the teachings of Jules Chauvet, a traditionalist who defied everything that the more commercial brands were touting in the region. Jean and three other local vignerons, Marcel Lapierre, Jean-Paul Thévenet, and Guy Breton, soon joined in on the movement. This Gang of Four, as Kermit christened them, called for a return to the old practices of viticulture and vinification: starting with old vines, never using synthetic herbicides or pesticides, harvesting late, rigorously sorting to remove all but the healthiest grapes, adding minimal doses of sulfur dioxide or none at all, and refusing both chaptalization and filtration. The end result allows Morgon to express itself naturally, as it should be without the bubblegum and banana aromas of so many other Beaujolais available today. Its rustic structure, spicy notes, and mineral-laden backbone are what real Morgon is all about.

This estate comprises nearly fourteen hectares. Foillard’s Morgons are deep, structured, and complex, with a velvety lushness that makes them irresistible when young despite their aging potential. Jean raises his wines in older barrels sourced from top estates in Burgundy, a logical decision for someone crafting Gamay in a Burgundian style. Would that all Burgundies were as consistent as Foillard’s Morgon! It is the passion and dedication of vignerons like this that have brought pride back to the crus of the Beaujolais.

Morgon “Cuvée Les Charmes” is sourced exclusively from the Les Charmes climate within the Côte du Py