2019 Jean Foillard Fleurie
Since legendary US importer Kermit Lynch dubbed them the Gang of Four in the 1980's, wine collectors the world over have been searching for the precious few bottles of Beaujolais from Jean Foillard, Marcel Lapierre, Guy Breton, and Jean-Paul Thévenet. Each of these producers were inspired by the natural wine growing and wine making methods of local hero Jules Chauvet. Their aim is to help the unique Beaujolais terroir express itself with minimal intervention, harnessing old vines farmed with organic practices, fermentation with natural yeasts, along with limited use of sulphur. Together they have raised not only the profile of the region, but demonstrated that Beaujolais is more than just 'Nouveau' and can indeed produce meaningful, complex and wonderful wines.
Along with his son Alex, Jean Foillard farms nearly fourteen hectares of vines planted mainly on the famed slopes of the Côte du Py in Morgon. As probably the most dependable of the Gang of Four, the wines of Jean Foillard are deep, structured, and complex, with a velvety lushness that makes them irresistible when young despite their aging potential. The wines are raised in older barrels sourced from top estates in Burgundy, including those from Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, with the resulting efforts perhaps showing more in common with Chambolle-Musigny than what we've come to expect from 'regular' Beaujolais.
In 2018, the Foillard family purchased a three-hectare parcel in lieu-dit Champagne, adjacent to Jean-Louis Dutraive's holdings, so that's the source of the 2019 Fleurie, superseding their previous suppliers of fruit. Exhibiting aromas of cherries, smoky berries, loamy soil, spices and potpourri, it's medium to full-bodied, velvety and charming, with fine depth at the core, lively acids and a sapid finish. Drink 2021 - 2031.
William Kelley - Wine Advocate (Aug 2021)
Dark, bright-rimmed ruby. Incisive, spice-accented red and blue fruit and allspice scents show excellent clarity and pick up floral and smoky mineral flourishes with air. Juicy and alluringly sweet, offering vibrant black raspberry, boysenberry and five-spice powder flavors that deepen through the midpalate. Shows impressive energy and finishes seamless and impressively long, with discreet tannins and a strong echo of juicy red fruit. Drink 2023 - 2032.
Josh Raynolds - Vinous
This has such a deep and delicate nose of black cherry, violet, wet earth and spice! Excellent concentration and stunning elegance, in spite of a serious tannin structure that gives this so much drive and energy at the stunningly fresh finish. Drink or hold.