In the 1980s, Beaujolais turned sharply from its sad-clown past and broke toward a clear-eyed vision of the future. Four young winemakers, under the influence of a radical vigneron named Jules Chauvet, heeded lessons in the tending of vines that shirked prevailing convention—which emphasized maximal yields and cheap forgettable juice—for something far more traditional, and powerful.
Today, the influence of these four men, dubbed the "Gang of Four" by their loudest advocate, Kermit Lynch, reaches far beyond the borders of their appellation and into every corner of the wine world. Especially those corners in which we at WWM focus our gaze.
The power of their wines rose—and continues to rise—from the dedication to a living environment at every stage, from the vine to the bottle. Or, as the Kermit Lynch site has it:
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.
Jean Foillard still adheres to these principles, and continues to inspire and teach some of the best young winemakers on the planet. The amazing thing is that he also still makes some of the best and most inspiring wines on the planet. They may not be the flashiest, the most expensive, or the most chic, but they are, year after year, one of the few wines that we anticipate giddily and without qualification.
Foillard et al ushered in a real paradigm shift, so it's hard to go back to the time before and understand just how radical a change it all was. History aside, however, his holdings in the Crus village of Morgon are some of the most prized in all of Beaujolais. And his three-plus decades of consistently nervy and always affable wines are the jewel in the crown of the Morgon hillside known as Cote du Py.
Lest I gush, let me get to the point. We just received the latest vintage of Foillard wines. 2013 produced yields below average but above the extremely devastating 2012 vintage. And this vintage received more sun than any of the past 20! Ripe, structured, intense.
In addition to the 750ml bottles, we have a few special magnum size bottles (1.5L) of the Côte du Py. This is Beaujolais that will age beautifully, so if you're collecting large format bottles, the Foillard is a no-brainer.
Foillard Morgon "Cuvee Corcelette" (.75L) - $42
Foillard Morgon "Côte du Py" (.75L) - $42
Foillard Morgon "Côte du Py" (1.5L) - $90