Anytime you hear the words “Foillard” and “Beaujolais” in the same sentence—or read them on the same label—you can expect to be in for a treat. That holds true when the Foillard in question is not Jean but his son, Alex, and when the Beaujolais is not a Morgon, but a brand-new bottling of Beaujolais-Villages. Alex tracked down an excellent old-vine parcel situated just beneath the cru of Régnié, between Morgon and Brouilly. The delicate fragrance betrays his light touch in the cellar; this drinks like a Gamay infusion with lovely hints of potpourri, spice, and fresh grapes. Serve it cool, naturally.
It’s no coincidence that numerous up-and-coming Beaujolais vignerons, as well as more established ones like Camille and Mathieu Lapierre, called on Guy Breton for advice while vinfying their 2018s. Not only is P’tit Max (as he is known) at the very top of his game, crafting wines of unparalleled purity and finesse, but his extensive experience with low-intervention winemaking makes him a go-to source for anyone seeking wisdom on the subject. His philosophy has not changed much since his debuts, when Camille and Mathieu’s father, Marcel, took him under his wing: Max starts with old vines in great sites, farms them without herbicides, ferments whole-cluster without chaptalization or selected yeasts, and bottles unfiltered with minimal effective sulfur. His gorgeously perfumed, supremely silky and sensual 2018 Morgon demonstrates why he has become the point of reference for Beaujolais producers and consumers alike.
Like your Beaujolais infused with crunchy volcanic stone? Tasting at Thivin each year, it is remarkable to see the influence of the Côte de Brouilly’s blue diorite, locally called pierre bleue, as compared with the other crus of Beaujolais. Gamay here is laced with a vibrant streak of gunflint, intensified by Thivin’s wealth of century-old vines that burrow deep into the bedrock. Coating this dense, firm mineral core is an abundance of sumptuous fruit hinting at cassis, blueberry, violets, plum, and blackberry. In other words, a whole lot of Beaujolais in one bottle!
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