DOMAINE JEAN FOILLARD, Morgon – Organic
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DOMAINE JEAN FOILLARD, Morgon – Organic
The Foillard’s house is in Villié-Morgon, close to the famed Côte du Py climat. When Jean bought the farm, it was in
complete disrepair; he began working in viticulture and wine in 1982, first on the family estate, then renting and buying
vineyards. Today his estate has a total surface of 11 hectares. The fabled Côte du Py is a climat of the Morgon
Appellation where the vineyards grow on slopes with crumbly schists soil that give Gamay a unique expression. The hill
is actually an extinct volcano, with lots of different types of soils depending of the plots. Foillard now uses the minimal
interventionist viticulture, but his wines are neither officially organic nor biodynamic even though he actually applies
many of the rules. What’s in a name? What is more important for him, he says, is the result in the bottle, and the
certifications on the labels are not his first concern. His cellar is fairly unsophisticated. He buys one-year-old casks
and uses them for 10 years, with the objective of keeping the wood in the background. He also has two foudres, one of
which is over forty years old.
The Morgon is fabulously pure, an unfiltered, unfined, unsulphured turbid Gamay, and has something of the quality of
what Keats described as “cool-root’d flowers”. The colour is on the dark side of cloudy ruby red, whilst aromas boom
happily out of the glass, notably kirsch, rhubarb and sweet blackberries; there’s a more fugitive bouquet of warm earth,
stones and dried spice evolving into dark chocolate and cinnamon. You can stay and play with the generous nose or
delve into a palate that seems to meet you more than halfway. It is extremely refreshing, bright sweet fruit is
complemented by a smooth, silky tannic structure, somehow immediate and pleasing yet subtle and complex. Those who
taste Foillard’s wine are struck by its moreishness: “I’m finding myself reaching for descriptors such as elegant and
expressive – words you’d associate more with Chambolle-Musigny than Beaujolais. The soft texture is the best thing
about this wine, and it makes you want to drink. It has no heaviness, it isn’t making an effort, and it has nothing to
prove. After a while longer, herb and tea elements begin to emerge. Then the bottle is empty, leaving me longing for
more. It has teased my palate and left me wanting another glass. It is fantastically drinkable”. (Jamie Goode)
He’s bang on the money; there is plenty of meaty life in this Côte du Py. It is lush yet poised, hearty yet fresh, complex yet
direct. Consider my boxes well and truly ticked.
MORGON “COTE DU PY”
MORGON “COTE DU PY” – magnum
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The Gamay grape is thought to be a mutant of the Pinot Noir, which first appeared in the village of Gamay, south of Beaune, in the 1360s.
The grape brought relief to the village growers following the decline of the Black Death. In contrast to the Pinot Noir variety, Gamay
ripened two weeks earlier and was less difficult to cultivate. It also produced a strong, fruitier wine in a much larger abundance. In July
1395, the Duke of Burgundy, Philippe the Bold, outlawed the cultivation of Gamay as being “a very bad and disloyal plant”-due in part
to the variety occupying land that could be used for the more “elegant” Pinot Noir. 60 years later, Philippe the Good, issued another edict
against Gamay in which he stated the reasoning for the ban is that “The Dukes of Burgundy are known as the lords of the best wines in
of Burgundy and into the granite based soils of Beaujolais where the grape thrived.
The terrain in Fleurie is similar throughout the vineyards and made up of crystalline granites which contribute to the wine’s
finesse and charm. Yvon Métras possesses parcels of vines in the sector of La Madone (this refers to the chapel of the
Madonna that surmounts the rounded hillock of Fleurie), an area with such steep gradients that he is compelled to work with
the aid of a long winch! Everything is done naturally on this parcel, as with the others he owns – no chemicals are used
whatsoever. Métras’s aim is to raise the level of Fleurie to a higher plane; he uses no sulphur during vinification, nor does he
chaptalize, but allows the wines to express themselves naturally. The Beaujolais (baby Fleurie) holds the promise of the
countryside in the spring: it is light, bright, balanced with a silky and supple character and an initial bouquet of irises and
violets leading to subtle notes of meat and smoky red fruit. On tasting, delicious is the first descriptor that springs to mind for
the wine is fluid and fresh with lacy tannins, bright acid and pure flavours and a long caressing finish. Dangerously easy to
drink. The older vine Fleurie has stones for bones, gripping granitic minerality that chisels the straightest of lines across the
tongue. And the merest suggestion of cherrystones and gooseberries. Don’t expect any change from this wine unless you serve
it from the carafe. The quixotic Moulin-à-Vent has made our top ten of the year over and again. Oh-so-pale and good beyond
the pale. We don’t get these rare birds every year so allocations are tiny – if at all!
FLEURIE VIEILLES VIGNES
DOMAINE REMY PASSOT, Chiroubles
Domaine Remy Passot lies largely in the commune of Chiroubles itself in the heart of the cru Beaujolais region. Chiroubles is
perched 400m above sea level atop poor granitic soils. The village is set around a 12
century church that is at the centre of a
territory that climbs to the west up to the slopes of Mont Avenas, which peaks at 700m and overlooks the village and houses a
tasting chalet. Passot also has vineyards in Fleurie and Morgon. The estate, which has a long history, has established a
reputation for consistency. Grapes are harvested manually to ensure optimal quality and, once the bunches have been sorted,
they are put into stainless steel vats and undergo semi-carbonic maceration. Over the next eight to twelve days run-off juice is
pumped over the cap (once or twice a day). Vatting time varies depending on the cru and the potential of each 165lare. The
run-off juice is drawn off into some high-potential vats to improve the extraction of flavours, aromas and tannins. The wine is
then matured is in old oak tuns, before bottling the following spring. The Fleurie shows all the finesse one would expect of this
appellation. Vibrant purple it is beautifully fruity, with raspberry, cherry, and summer fruit aromas.
MARIE LAPIERRE & JEAN-CLAUDE CHANUDET, Beaujolais – Organic
Marcel Lapierre was Monsieur Morgon and very much the godfather of Gamay. Marie Lapierre, his wife, makes the wine at
Château Cambon. These wines are au naturel; the wild yeasts are practically gnawing at your ankles. Intended to express
terroir and possess a cool freshness, equilibrium and fruit; veritably these are vins des soifs. The Raisins Gaulois is fun
incarnate – drinking this wine offers indecent pleasure. You have to like a cheekily-monickered wine with a cartoon label of a
geezer swallowing a bunch of grapes (evidently taking his wine in tablet form). Gummy Gamay, do not pass go, do not collect
tannin, a redcurrant jam jamboree which just manages to steer clear of sweetness by virtue of a thwack of liquorice on the
finish. You’re madder than Mad Jack McMad if you don’t serve this well chilled. The Beaujolais, from eighty year old vines is
wilder; in the murk lurks a jungle of brambly fruit with a whiff of the beast. “La Cuvée du Chat” drinks more like a Morgon.
It comes from the granitic soils of a tiny 2.5 hectare parcel bought by Jean-Claude Chanudet and Marie Lapierre from a
friend in 2010. The parcel of vines belonged to Jules Chauvet, once upon a wine. Chanudet and Lapierre took over and began
the conversion to organic agriculture. The beautiful Gamay grapes from these 80-year-old vines are handpicked in October,
after which carbonic maceration with natural yeasts occurs in an enamel tank with some pumping over to stimulate activity.
The wine is then moved to foudres to rest on lees before finally being bottled with minimal SO2.
VDT GAMAY RAISINS GAULOIS
VDT GAMAY RAISINS GAULOIS - 5 litre BIB
CHATEAU CAMBON BEAUJOLAIS
JULES CHAUVET CUVEE DE CHAT
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Is that Rully as in Scully?
(As in Mulder)
(As in Bosch)
No, that’s tosh
It should be Rully as in truly
Is it really?
No that’s Reuilly from the Loire
And it’s pronounced Roy
But you haven’t mentioned Brouilly
No Brouilly as in Artero Ui
I tell you what.
It’s hard to know Rully.
DOMAINE CRET DE GARNACHES, SYLVIE GENIN DUFAITRE, Brouilly
Classic Brouilly where the ebullient, youthful Gamay fronts a rich, serious wine. Green practices and low yields
(33hl/ha) lend this wine its more mineral backbone whilst the Gamay provides the classic strawberry and raspberry
fruit aromas. The palate, marked by suppleness, fleshiness and finesse, has a peppery bite on the finish, which lifts it
above the run-of-the-mill Gamay. A must with hearty Lyonnais food: poached sausages paired with creamy warm
potatoes or coquelet flavoured with tarragon.
BROUILLY – ½ bottle
DOMAINE JEAN-CLAUDE LAPALU, Brouilly – Biodynamic
I’ve always thought of Brouilly as one quaff away from straight Beau Jolly, in other words red wine red lolly. With Jean-
Claude Lapalu’s wine you can detect the fists behind the fruit. This is one of the new crew of sternly-made rock steady cru
Beaujolais. Grapes are hand-picked and sorted, loaded by conveyor to avoid damage, and given neither SO2 nor cultured
yeasts during the fermentation. During the 8-10 day maceration a wooden grill is used to enhance extraction. The wine stays
at least a half year on its fine lees gaining power and complexity. And yet the Brouillys are neither heavy nor clumsy and one
could easily imagine them ageing ten to fifteen years. The old vines were old when Jean-Claude’s grandfather began farming
them in 1940. Is this where the schist of Côte de Brouilly touches the signature granite of Brouilly? It seems almost to inhabit
a hypothetical halfway house between Beaujolais and Priorat!
made by carbonic maceration, the other a traditional vinification with destemmed grapes, (Jean-Claude only uses indigenous
yeasts and doesn’t use any sulphur during vinification, (there is only some added at the bottling and then only in very small
quantities: 2gr/hl). The cuvaison lasts for10 to 20 days. The two cuvées are then assembled after their malolactic fermentation
and spend the winter in stainless steel tanks. The dark red fruits on the nose and palate can’t disguise a probing minerality; if
ever granite was translated into liquid this is the case.
year-old vines and aged in three-to-five-year-old barriques after a long cuvaison, disports a wonderfully wild nose of leather,
tar and red cherry and palate-punching dark fruits: stylistically it seems to straddle Burgundy and the Rhône.
BEAUJOLAIS-VILLAGES VIEILLES VIGNES
BROUILLY VIEILLES VIGNES
BROUILLY CROIX DES RAMEAUX
VIN DE FRANCE “EAU FORTE”
VIN DE FRANCE “EAU FORTE” – magnum
BROUILLY “ALMA MATER” – amphora
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FLEURIE CLOS DE LA GRAND COUR SANS SOUFRE
ANNE & JEAN-FRANCOIS GANEVAT, Beaujolais/Jura – Organic/Biodynamic
This is a collaboration between sister and brother Anne & Jean-François Ganevat and is a reaction to the tiny yields that the
2012 and 2013 vintages gave in Jura. They decided to diversify by purchasing parcels in Beaujolais (Brouilly, Fleurie,
Morgon and elsewhere) as well as buying grapes grown by vigneron-friends with a similar mentality and approach to wine.
Thus it is that they make a Bo-Jura/Jurolais style, impishly teasing wine with vivid, bright, crunchy fruit.
We’ve managed to secure a decent parcel of these thoroughbred regional hybrids. 2013 Madelan is 80% Gamay (40 year old
vines) blended with 20% Enfarine, the latter grown on pieds de francs. Hand-harvested fruit, pigeage with feet, carbonic
maceration of 19 days in ancient tronconic vats with indigenous yeasts, zero sulphur added, a wine that is so comfortable in
itself. Purple in colour, Madelan’s nose evokes blackberries, violets and pepper, the palate is soft, sweet and tender with
lovely texture and acidulous brightness and the finish is tonic and spicy.A Toute Beauté is a fascinating wine featuring 70%
Gamay mingling with diverse ancient Jurassic oddities (Petit Béclan, Gros Béclan, Geusche, Argant, Peurion, Portugais bleu,
Isabelle, Enfariné…) The Gamay vines are 50 years old and fourteen years for Jurassic varieties grown on franc de pieds.
Vinification is simple – foot-stomping grapes, 25 days of carbonic maceration in tronconic vats and totally natural
winemaking i.e. sans kit and caboodle. This wine has a touch more material and minerality than the Madelan with a subtle
tannic dimension that will allow ageing, although it is engaging enough in its infancy and a swirl in a carafe helps it unwind
Y A BON THE CANON
DE TOUTE BEAUTE
DE TOUTE BEAUTE – magnum
MADELON – magnum
DOMAINE DE BOTHELAND, LAURENCE & REMI DUFAITRE, Brouilly – Organic
Rémi is a member of the informal group that has evolved from Kermit Lynch’s “gang of four,” the producers in Morgon who
studied with natural-wine-pioneer Jules Chauvet (winemaker and biologist) and make natural wine (Foillard among them).
This group has grown to include younger winemakers like Rémi, who are working in the same spirit. Rémi makes wines in a
classic carbonic style, using whole bunches, which are carefully sorted to avoid broken grapes or rot. He adds some carbon
dioxide gas to protect the grapes at the beginning of fermentation, and does not use any temperature control. He avoids foot
stomping the grapes. His goal is to have as little juice in the tank as possible. Remi makes all his wines with the same method,
thus we can really see and taste the differences between the sites, with minor differences in the elevage of each cuvee. He
tastes each cuvee before bottling, and may decide to add between zero and 2 mg of sulphur, depending on how stabile he
judges the wine to be. The Beaujolais Blanc is unusual, really dense yet saline, and the reds have glorious tension.
GAMAY VIN DE FRANCE – keykeg – 20 litres
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He took a swig of the friand, tasted fruit and freshness, a flavour that turned briefly and looked back over its shoulder at the
summer before last, but didn’t pause even to shade its eyes. Elizabeth Knox – The Vintner’s Luck
It is very difficult to generalise about Burgundy. As with any region it is
often a matter of “follow the grower”. And then what’s good for whites isn’t
necessarily great for reds (and vice versa).
The consistent quality in the Mâconnais and Chalonnais continues to delight.
These regions are beginning to give the better-known appellations a run for
their money. Or our money, I should say. Taste the Givrys from Domaine
Parize for richness, acidity, complexity and fruitiness. In Rully, the soils and
expositions favour Chardonnay and Jean-Baptiste Ponsot’s whites have that
fine citric freshness that one associates with this appellation. Mercurey is
where the most intense examples of Pinot Noir are to be found. Domaine
Emile Juillot makes earthy wines, and the estate is moving towards fully
The wines from the Mâconnais are arguably even better. Christophe
Thibert’s wine thrill with their delicacy and purity. The wines from Philippe
& Gerard Valette, including an old-vines Mâcon-Chaintré and a stunning
Pouilly-Fuissé reveal meticulous work in the vineyard with relatively late
harvesting and careful vinification using natural yeasts and minimal sulphur
yields wines of remarkable concentration. Julien Guillot (Clos des Vignes
du Maynes) also produces exceptional whites – Mâcon-Cruzille – and reds
(mainly from Gamay) with penetrating acidity and exceptional minerality.
His terroir is extraordinary – a geological scrapyard of minerals that seem to
migrate into the core of the wines themselves.
In Burgundy we talk about the grower rather than the vintage. 2009 is being
trumpeted across Burgundy as a great white vintage. Undoubtedly, we are
seeing more consistent wines, but in our humble opinion wines from 2008
exhibit more tension and finer acidity, with the 2010s somewhere in between
the two stylistically.
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