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2020 Beaujolais-Villages

Jean Foillard
Discount Eligible $28.00
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Whenever we talk about bistro wines, my mind drifts to the streets of Paris. But the more I’ve thought about them lately, the more I’ve wondered if I should instead daydream about Lyon, which is arguably France’s culinary capital—or even, according to Curnonsky, France’s most famous food writer of the twentieth century, “the gastronomic capital of the world.”
    With a bottle of Beaujolais-Villages in particular, from one of Beaujolais’ greatest talents, it is perhaps most appropriate to imagine yourself in a bouchon—Lyon’s bistro equivalent—given the proximity of Jean Foillard’s cellar in Villié-Morgon, less than an hour north. As you swirl a glass of this divine nectar, picture yourself seated at a checkered-cloth table brimming with plates of the famous local quenelles, saucissons, pâtés, and terrines.
   Foillard’s wine, with its sensuous notes of red fruit, mouthwatering acidity, and low alcohol, tastes as if he crafted it specifically for this bouchon table. With a slight chill, this rouge, made with Gamay from parcels around Villié-Morgon, Lancié, Saint-Amour, and Saint-Étienne-la-Varenne, is as dreamy as the scene.

Tom Wolf


Technical Information
Wine Type: red
Vintage: 2020
Bottle Size: 750mL
Blend: Gamay
Appellation: Beaujolais-Villages
Country: France
Region: Beaujolais
Producer: Jean Foillard
Vineyard: 20 to 55 years old, 7 ha
Soil: Granite
Aging: Aged 7 months in concrete tank
Farming: Organic (certified)
Alcohol: 13.5%

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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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Inspiring Thirst

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