Jean Foillard is universally recognised as one of the very best Beaujolais producers and is one of the band of 4 of Morgon with Guy Breton, Jean-Paul Thevenet and Marcel Lapierre, who are all adepts of the works of Jules Chauvet on non sulphured vinification. Jean met Jules Chauvet early in his career and became an un-official member of “La Bande a Marcel”. Chauvet’s mantra was that winemaking should be a natural process. He felt that great winemaking started in the vineyard with vigorous canopy management, absolutely no use of chemicals on the vines, low or no use of sulphur etc. To Jean, this all made sense and he’s remained true to these philosophies ever since.
Foillard now uses minimal interventionist viticulture, but his wines are neither officially organic nor biodynamic even though he actually applies many of the rules. What’s in a name? What is more important for him, he says, is the result in the bottle, and the certifications on the labels are not his first concern.
This Morgon is fabulously pure, an unfiltered, unfined, unsulphured Gamay. Its colour is on the dark side of cloudy ruby red, whilst aromas boom happily out of the glass, notably kirsch, rhubarb and sweet blackberries; there’s a more fugitive bouquet of warm earth, stones and dried spice evolving into dark chocolate and cinnamon. It is extremely refreshing, bright sweet fruit is complemented by a smooth, silky tannic structure, somehow immediate and pleasing yet subtle and complex.