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2016 Beaujolais-Villages

Jean Foillard

It isn’t every day that one can team up with the talented Jean Foillard and create a new wine. I think the last straw was when one of our clients shipped their Nouveau, the one Jean had rushed through vinification, late. “Why not let me take my time with the vinification and label it as Beaujolais rather than Nouveau if it doesn’t have to be to the USA by the third Thursday in November?” Recognizing the good sense in that was pretty easy. As the idea took form, Jean went looking for other sources of fruit to complement his personal holdings. Naturally, his first and last stops were in the steep, granite hillsides of Beaujolais-Villages, skirting the crus. His inspiration also led him to ink long-term deals with the landholders so that he could work the land himself and manage everything A–Z, eventually owning it all. Now you can own this inaugural bottle! I don’t expect you will be able to keep your hands off of it for long, though.
      The wine is, of course, classic Foillard: smooth and seductive, with rose petals, red cherry, and a granite crunch to remind you of the noblesse of these slopes. Featuring vines from the communes of Lancié, Saint-Amour, Saint-Jean-d’Ardières, Perréon, and Régnié-Durette, this is the real Beaujolais-Villages, further set apart from simpler Beaujolais by the touch of a master vigneron.

Dixon Brooke

Vintage: 2016
Bottle Size: 750mL
Blend: Gamay
Appellation: Beaujolais-Villages
Country: France
Region: Beaujolais
Producer: Jean Foillard
Vineyard: 7 ha
Soil: Granite
Farming: Organic (certified)
Alcohol: 12.5%

More from this Producer or Region

About Beaujolais

After years of the region’s reputation being co-opted by mass-produced Beaujolais Nouveau and the prevalence of industrial farming, the fortunes of vignerons from the Beaujolais have been on the rise in the past couple of decades. Much of this change is due to Jules Chauvet, a prominent Beaujolais producer who Kermit worked with in the 1980s and arguably the father of the natural wine movement, who advocated not using herbicides or pesticides in vineyards, not chaptalizing, fermenting with ambient yeasts, and vinifying without SO2. Chief among Chauvet’s followers was Marcel Lapierre and his three friends, Jean Foillard, Guy Breton, and Jean-Paul Thévenet—a group of Morgon producers who Kermit dubbed “the Gang of Four.” The espousal of Chauvet’s methods led to a dramatic change in quality of wines from Beaujolais and with that an increased interest and appreciation for the AOC crus, Villages, and regular Beaujolais bottlings.

The crus of Beaujolais are interpreted through the Gamay grape and each illuminate the variety of great terroirs available in the region. Distinguishing itself from the clay and limestone of Burgundy, Beaujolais soils are predominantly decomposed granite, with pockets of blue volcanic rock. The primary vinification method is carbonic maceration, where grapes are not crushed, but instead whole clusters are placed in a tank, thus allowing fermentation to take place inside each grape berry.

Much like the easy-going and friendly nature of many Beaujolais vignerons, the wines too have a lively and easy-drinking spirit. They are versatile at table but make particularly good matches with the local pork sausages and charcuterie. Though often considered a wine that must be drunk young, many of the top crus offer great aging potential.

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I want you to realize once and for all: Even the winemaker does not know what aging is going to do to a new vintage; Robert Parker does not know; I do not know. We all make educated (hopefully) guesses about what the future will bring, but guesses they are. And one of the pleasures of a wine cellar is the opportunity it provides for you to witness the evolution of your various selections. Living wines have ups and downs just as people do, periods of glory and dog days, too. If wine did not remind me of real life, I would not care about it so much.

Inspiring Thirst, page 171

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Warnings


Drinking distilled spirits, beer, coolers, wine and other alcoholic beverages may increase cancer risk, and, during pregnancy, can cause birth defects. For more information go to www.P65Warnings.ca.gov/alcohol


Many food and beverage cans have linings containing bisphenol A (BPA), a chemical known to cause harm to the female reproductive system. Jar lids and bottle caps may also contain BPA. You can be exposed to BPA when you consume foods or beverages packaged in these containers. For more information, go to www.P65Warnings.ca.gov/bpa