This Beaujolais-Villages consists of a blend of several granite terroirs—Gamay’s favorite kind of dirt—on the outskirts of the cru villages, mostly high in the hills where Gamay once failed to ripen consistently. With today’s climate, ripening is no longer a concern, even in these cooler sites. Consider Foillard’s Villages a lighter, brighter, higher-toned little sister to the domaine’s benchmark Morgons. Juicy and floral, it feels just right any old time of day, on its own or with food. Serve it cool—even cold, on a hot day—for maximum pleasure.
I vividly recall tasting Breton’s 2018s with the man himself in Villié-Morgon last spring. Floating on a Gamay-induced cloud of silky fresh berries, I wondered, Grapes can do this?? My brow furrowed as I contemplated an inevitable problem: Bottles won’t be big enough. Buy only magnums? Does it come in buckets? I am no scientist, but something about the chemical properties of carbonically fermented Gamay from ancient vines in granite soils, bottled unfiltered with barely any sulfur, causes the stuff to evaporate from the bottle at an accelerated rate. Savor it while you can, because your glass will be empty before you know it, leaving you only with the spicy, mineral-laden aftertaste of a bottle that went down way too easily.
Don’t change a winning team, goes the old saying. At this domaine, the formula has been nearly identical since at least 1981, when we began importing Michel Chignard’s Fleurie: old vines in a great site, whole-cluster fermentation, élevage in foudres, unfiltered bottling. Michel’s son, Cédric, is now in charge, but the elements that make this a benchmark cru Beaujolais year after year remain unchanged. The 2018 edition presents a deep purplish robe with flashes of magenta, and an intensely fragrant aroma as sumptuous as the wine’s color swirling around in your glass. A sip reveals something rich and velvety, chock-full of vibrant fruits and flowers. If it ain’t broke...
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