Thursday, October 08, 2009

Wine of the Week - Jean Foillard Morgon

If I were putting together a Noah's Ark of wine, Jean Foillard's Morgons would represent the Beaujolais species. There are many lovable Beaujolais wines, but I love these the most. And it's funny, because Foillard's wines are not, in my experience, all that lovable upon opening. They can be a little gassy at first, also showing some reductive aromas until the wine meets up with some oxygen. But when a Foillard Morgon opens up, it can be a very beautiful thing. The fruit is joyous and lovely - this is true of most good Beaujolais wines. These are complex and well balanced wines too. But the things that defines Foillard's wines for me is the way they combine such incredible clarity with such rich intensity.

Morgon is considered by many to offer the greatest potential of the 10 Beaujolais Crus. The Côte de Py is the most renown site in Morgon. It is a large hill with soils of schist and granite, an extinct volcano actually, as I learned from Bert's post on Wine Terroirs. Foillard has plots on the Côte de Py, and also in another Morgon vineyard called Corcelette, a plot with sandy soil, as I learned from Peter Liem's post (the comments explain this). I don't know the age of Foillard's vines in Côte de Py, but his vines in Corcelette are about 80 years old. The Côte de Py is pretty easy to find in NYC each year, Corcelette is more difficult. Both wines are delicious young, but they have a reputation for aging particularly well.

A friend came for brunch last weekend and one of the wines we drank was the 2007 Corcelette. And if you have a problem with the fact that we opened several bottles with brunch, I really just don't know what to tell you. We didn't finish what we opened, but when you have the chance to drink wine with a fellow wine lover, why not explore a few bottles together? We both loved the Corcelette, and he wasn't around later that evening when the wine hit a crescendo. It was so good that I felt compelled to open the 2007 Côte de Py later in the week, just to see how it would compare. It was also fantastic, but in a different way. The wines are quite obviously sisters, but they offer a different expression of Morgon Gamay.

The fruit is vibrant in the 2007 Foillard Morgon Corcelette, $29, imported by Kermit Lynch Wine Merchant. The acidity is vibrant too, and the wine feels tactile in the mouth - crunchy almost. This is cooling and floral raspberry fruit, smooth and velvety, and there is a gorgeous fragrance on the finish. After several hours open, this wine was remarkable in its old vines intensity - the nose just builds and builds and builds, and the pure fragrance of slightly herbal ripe fruit fills every crevice in the mouth after swallowing. Such a beautiful wine! I'd rather spend my money on this than Bourgogne rouge.

The 2007 Foillard Morgon Côte de Py, also $29, wears its structure more overtly, its deep cherry fruit corralled by iron and rock. The fruit is spicier and more mineral infused than the Corcelette, meatier. The texture here is also velvety smooth, but even after a few hours the structure is still as prominent as is the fruit. This wine is more steak and potatoes, and the Corcelette is more warm raspberry pie. I suspect that the Côte de Py, although delicious now, will be more harmonious in a few years.

9 comments:

Alex Halberstadt said...

Neil--Foillard's Côte de Py is my favorite among the '07s Beaujolais I've tasted. Fresh and beautiful, although a bit gassy at first, as you say. In general, though, I'm a bigger fan of Jean-Paul Thevenet's Morgons; they are so elegant. I still have the last two bottles of his Vieilles Vignes '06, probably as supple, complex and delicate a red as I've tasted. A funny thing to say about a Beaujolais, I guess, but those are qualities I always hope for from red Burgundy but so rarely experience. A poor man's Chambolle?

By the way, where can one find the Corcelette? I've never even seen it.

Cliff said...

Foillard is a genius, my favorite in Beaujolais also. I would definitely load up the ark.

Cliff said...

CSW had the Courcelette, but I think it's gone.

putnam said...

and his best vintage this decade was 2001. Amazing.

Brittany said...

Yes, the Cote du Py is wonderful--better after breathing in a carafe for an hour. I wish I could find the Courcelette. Foillard is a genius.

Brooklynguy said...

Alex - that's remarkable self control, that you still have two bottles of that wine. i broke my own laws recently by polishing off my last 06 foillard cdp. they're so hard to hold on to.

i've never had a foillard older than 04, interesting that the 01 is so good. i wish mature versions of good beaujolais were available in retail.

yeah, corcelette showed u pat chambers street briefly, and then was gone. i've never seen it elsewhere, and i have no idea if the next vintage will come here. i bet it will not, as yields were low in 08.

Clarke said...

I was lucky enough to enjoy a 2000 Foillard Cote du Py at the incredible and unique restaurant Le Cep in Fleurie this past summer. Its freshness and evolution with air amazed all of us at the table, and it's certainly one of the most memorable wine experiences of the year for me... If you are ever even remotely close to the Beaujolais, Le Cep is a must-stop: soulful, inexpensive, local dishes prepared with the utmost love and care by Ms. Chantal Chagny, now well into her 60s. Fresh and amazing house-made foie gras, the best oeufs en meurette imaginable, the most delicious pigeon preparation I've ever had, and a cru-Beaujolais-only (well, there are some whites from the Maconnais) wine list that will make your head spin.

Jessica said...

Where did you find the 2007 Folliard? I'm on the hunt!

Brooklynguy said...

Jessica - It was at Chambers street and astor wines, but gone now. the 2008 is out now and probably at both of those stores. there is still 07 hanging around though. i've seen it even recently, i just cannot remember where.