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2020 Côte de Brouilly

Alex Foillard
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Just south of Morgon lies the Côte-de-Brouilly, a cru whose imposing slopes and strikingly rocky soil imbue Gamay grapes with power and drive that, in examples like this one, can be more reminiscent of Rhône wines than of your stereotypical dainty Beaujolais. Alex Foillard fashions a Côte-de-Brouilly that strikes a deeper register, saturating the senses with tooth-staining fruit, gritty earth, and just a touch of the good funk. A note of iron lends itself to hearty gulps alongside braised pork shoulder, spice-crusted brisket, or a rare ribeye. You’ll appreciate another take on Beaujolais.

Anthony Lynch

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Technical Information
Wine Type: red
Vintage: 2020
Bottle Size: 750mL
Blend: Gamay
Appellation: Côte de Brouilly
Country: France
Region: Beaujolais
Producer: Alex Foillard
Vineyard: 30, 60 years, 1 ha
Soil: Schist, granite, light layer of sand
Farming: Organic (practicing)
Alcohol: 14%

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About The Region

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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Terroirs

Great winemakers, great terroirs, there is never any hurry. And I no longer buy into this idea of “peak” maturity. Great winemakers, great terroirs, their wines offer different pleasures at different ages.

Inspiring Thirst, page 312

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