Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Foillard Fleurie

I love Jean Foillard's wines. There are many great Beaujolais wines, but if I were forced to choose only one to drink (and thank goodness I am not), I would choose Foillard's wines. And I say this without even having tasted only half of the wines he makes. The Morgon wines from Côte du Py and Corcelette I've drunk many times and based on these wines, Foillard makes my favorite wines from the Beaujolais.

I've never tasted the other Morgon wine, also from Côte du Py, called Cuvée 3.14, a wine made from old vines, and I think from un-grafted rootstock. You know, 3.14 as in π, as in pie, as in franc de pied (French rootstock). But I don't know this for a fact, I'm merely speculating.

Until the other night, I'd never tasted Foillard's Fleurie either. But a good friend opened a bottle of the 2007 the other night (about $40, imported by KERMIT LYNCH), and it was absolutely lovely.

This wine opened slowly, as Foillard's wines tend to do, the nose building to a crescendo of ripe Gamay fruit and flowers, wet stone underneath. The palate is elegant and shows great intensity and focus, and without weight, exactly the kind of thing that makes Burgundy and Beaujolais lovers swoon. The wine is well structured and firm, but lighter in body and more nimble than, say, Foillard's 2007 Morgons. It has the same power, but is even wispier.

I am not someone who can speak intelligently about the soil composition in Morgon versus Fleurie, but I think that comparing Foillard's wines is helpful in trying to understand the two terroirs. As Bert Celce of Wine Terroirs writes in his excellent and informative profiles of the Foillards, "Be it Corcelette, Côte de Py, Fleurie, Morgon, they vinify all these Gamays the same way (including the "lower" cuvées), which means that whatever differences you'll find (especially when comparing similarly-old vines), it will come from the terroir particularities."

On another note altogether, did you notice in the photo that this bottle looks different from Foillard's other bottles? Yes, the label is black, as is the wax coating the capsule. But I'm talking about the prominent message on the front of the label that says "Imported by KERMIT LYNCH." I have nothing but respect for Kermit Lynch and I would not presume to criticize his decisions regarding the wines he imports, or anything of that nature. But because appearances are such trivial matters, I will nitpick a little here.

This message is apparently now on the front of all of the US-bound Foillard wines, and I don't like it. It's kind of like watching Goodfellas, but with a constant graphic on the upper right part of the screen that says "Produced by BARBARA DeFINA." She was of vital importance in bringing Goodfellas to audiences and everyone thanks her, but she wasn't the creative force behind the film, and if I want to know who produced the film, I can look. It doesn't seem all that classy to have that information front and center.

Nitpicking -- finished. Thank you.

14 comments:

King Krak, I Drink the Wine said...

I'm totally with you on this; that label is an Epic Fail by Kermit Lynch to me.

My choice for Beaujolais are the wines from Yvon Métras.

JonathanNYC said...

Couldn't agree more about the new in-your-face KL marketing bling. Will you join their new wine club as well? It's almost as though Colgate Palmolive bought out KL and are going balls to the wall profitmonger. Still, hard to hate KL...

Also, while your explanation about the pi may be far more recherchée than my own, I would invoke Occam's razor in suggesting it may very well just be a pun founded on Py/pi? They're French homonyms.

Sebastian said...

I agree that the above-the-title (so to speak) Kermit Lynch reference is distracting, but isn't this sort of label design something that has to be agreed to by the winemaker? It's not applied uniformly to KL imports - Lapierre's 2009s, for example, don't have the same byline.

Maybe Foillard thought that it would bolster his sales to have Kermit's name on the front of the bottle. Of course, that would be a little perplexing for a Beaujolais in the 2009 vintage, since there's such a scramble for these wines regardless.

Anonymous said...

I used to agree that Foillards' wines were very drinkable and something special but the last bottles I drank left me wondering. Flat, boring, not what it used to be. Last week I had an 04 Morgon, the bottle didn't even get finished. I'm sorry but I'm moving away from the beaujolais also the Morgons from Lapierre didn't enthuse me and for those prices......

Benjamin said...

Brooklynguy, I agree with you comment about the new Kermit Lynch labels. Not my favorite. But I think it points to the fact that he realizes that he has made a name for himself as a great wine importer, and he understands that not all wine buyers will turn the bottle around to see who the importer is. Let's be honest, the average wine consumer does not do this. Still, it's a little bothersome. And Sebastian, all I have to say is that as somebody who works in retail, Beaujolais is really not an easy sell--irregardless of the vintage. It is primarily the people in the know (wine nerds) who actively seek out these wines. I wish this were not the case, but it is. More for us!

Douglas said...

Kermit is to Foillard as Julie was to Julia. Apart from the fact that the BIG NAME stratagem is embarrassing (or should be), I think it creates confusion in the minds of consumers, since Lynch does make his own wine too (e.g. Kermit Lynch Cotes du Rhone).

On another subject entirely, can anyone recommend a fabulous (not just good!) food match for young (2009) beaujolais? I have been trying many of the 2009s, and while many have been excellent wines, I haven't found the right things to eat... Thanks.

Timothy said...

yeah, i noticed the new KL marketing on the Bregeon Muscadet and was hoping it was on that release only, but it seems not...

Sharon said...

Just a stickler's note: 3.14 is not franc de pied. (And "pie" doesn't mean anything in French, other than magpie.) 3.14 is a pun on the Côte du Py, which is pronounced, of course, "pee," as is π. Franc de pied is pronounced "pee-é."

Brooklynguy said...

Sharon - i appreciate the correction - thanks for clearing that up.

deetrane said...

I don't like it. But it probably won't stop me from buying the wine if I see it. Strangely, now that I'm looking for it, it may get me to grab other similarly imprinted bottles when I am shopping retail and in a hurry.

B/G - is K/L paying you on the D/L? If so, that is an excellent display of internet reverse marketing hypno-manipulation.

tom@personalwinebuyer.com said...

Great post, and that wine is one of my favorites from the last year....

Billy said...

Wow, what's more interesting? the juice in the glass or the damn importers' name? A little homework before you publish these comments would be nice. A quick call or e-mail to Kermit would resolve all this speculation and fill in the gaps of your admittedly limited knowledge about cru beaujolais and this cuvee specifically. Damn BG, how can you assume there isn't a better reason than self promotion for this label? That man's reputation is unimpeachable. You should just thank him. All of you.

Thank you Kermit Lynch for believing in Jean Foillard and his wine, his philosophy, and his terroir.

Brooklynguy said...

Billy - when the comments started coming about disliking the new marketing on the labels, i initially felt a bit bad because it wasn't my intention to foment some sort of anti-KL labeling phenomenon. I merely, and I think quite respectfully, wrote something that criticized the new KL labels. I'm sorry if that offends Kermit Lynch or those of you who work with him and made the decision, but it's only my opinion. No one is questioning his importance as an importer of fine wine, or disrespecting his work in any way.

As i wrote in the post, appearances are trivial, and the wine is my favorite of all Beaujolais. So i guess what i'm saying is, i feel like I expressed my opinion respectfully. Although i am sorry if it rankled you Billy, or anyone else.

Yule said...

Kermit Lynch wrote a response on a wine board about the new importer labels. I think you will find it interesting.

http://winedisorder.com/comment/56/4532/?page=2

You can scroll down to see his response, about mid-way through.