2018 Jean Foillard Morgon Cote de Py

Year: 2018
Appellation: Beaujolais
Country: France
Wine Advocate: 94
Red Wine
Price :
$41.95
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"The 2018 Morgon Côte du Py is showing very nicely, offering up a classy bouquet of raspberries and plums, mingled with hints of orange rind, violet and cardamom. Medium to full-bodied, deep and complete, with a fleshy but elegantly understated core and an expansive finish. Impressively integrated—indeed, it was only after spending half an hour with the bottle that I noticed that it's labeled at 14.5% alcohol—with powdery tannins and succulent balancing acids, it's another fine rendition of this iconic cuvée.

As I wrote last year, it's an open secret that this is one of the region's finest as well as most consistent addresses, and followers of the estate won't be disappointed by the newly released 2018. Jean and Agnès Foillard's first vintage was in 1981, but it was in 1985 that Jean 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 winemaking 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. 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)

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.