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2017 Beaujolais-Villages

Jean Foillard

Jean Foillard made his name crafting world-class, age-worthy bottlings from tiny, prestigious sites within the Beaujolais cru of Morgon. In the last few years, however, he has also added a bottling of BeaujolaisVillages to his small lineup. What inspired this expansion? Jean had been making Beaujolais Nouveau that he would rush to us each November to meet the deadline of the worldwide Nouveau celebration. Eventually, he decided he didn’t want to rush anymore. Jean thought the grapes he was using were of high enough quality to make a cuvée with more complexity and a little more longevity, so he proposed taking his time to produce a Beaujolais-Villages instead of a Beaujolais Nouveau. Featuring grapes from high-elevation, graniteheavy terroirs barely outside the region’s crus, this wine is silky and seductive, with notes of rose petals, red berries, and stones. With just the right amount of tannin and acidity, and lots of class, it is perfect for all occasions.

Tom Wolf

$25.00
Wine Type: red
Vintage: 2017
Bottle Size: 750mL
Blend: Gamay
Appellation: Beaujolais-Villages
Country: France
Region: Beaujolais
Producer: Jean Foillard
Vineyard: 7 ha
Soil: Granite
Farming: Organic (certified)
Alcohol: 13%

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About Beaujolais

map of 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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Every three or four months I would send my clients a cheaply made list of my inventory, but it began to dawn on me that business did not pick up afterwards. It occurred to me that my clientele might not know what Château Grillet is, either. One month in 1974 I had an especially esoteric collection of wines arriving, so I decided to put a short explanation about each wine into my price list, to try and let my clients know what to expect when they uncorked a bottle. The day after I mailed that brochure, people showed up at the shop, and that is how these little propaganda pieces for fine wine were born.—Kermit Lynch

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