2015 stands out from the two preceding vintages for the sheer heft and power of the wines, not to mention their full, even extreme ripeness. The '15 growing season featured steady warmth and a series of heat spikes, with nighttime temperatures remaining mostly moderate. The harvest began on August 24, as the last days of that month brought another heat wave. While a classic cru Beaujolais can be expected to tip the scales at around 13% alcohol, give or take half a percent, a number of 2015s approach or even surpass 15%, with the majority around 14%, which is heady territory for the Gamay variety. The fruit in many of these wines runs distinctly to the dark side rather than red like the 2009s, and the wines, not surprisingly, tend to be hefty and chewy.
It was my first ever wine trip circa 1996 with Kermit Lynch Imports to France. Not only my first wine trip but my first trip ever to France complete with a security breach at CDG Airport where Security blew up a package that had been left unattended (like you hear in every airport today) not 100 yards from where I was exiting the plane.
We started in the Rhone yet we were tasting the Burgundy Appellation? We had arrived at what would forever be etched in my taste RAM as the Father of the Gang of Four- Marcel Lapierre. The iconic figure, whom posthumously continues via his son, to teach the ideals of Cru Beaujolais making most wine professionals weak in the knee's after tasting the virtues of the grape Gamay.
Holy crap! I was in his cellar with ALL the gang of four. Marcel (the Man), Jean Foillard, Guy Breton and Jean Paul Thevenet. He had amassed the gang of four for the 10 of us traveling from the US, even despite just a week prior one of the gang of four had lost his nephew who drowned in one of the tanks as he was overwhelmed by CO2 during pigage.
I will probably never have the opportunity to meet so many iconic men who raise wine as I did that day. So without further ado here's the Foillard offer for 2015. Jean and Agns Foillard took over his father's domaine in 1980, and soon thereafter began to make people very happy. The biggest part of their vineyards are planted on the Cote du Py, the famed slope outside the town of Villie-Morgon and the pride of Morgon. These granite and schist soils sit on an alluvial fan at the highest point above the town and impart great complexity. However, great real estate is not the only key to Foillard's success. Early on, Jean began to follow the teachings of Jules Chauvet, a traditionalist who defied everything that the more commercial brands were touting in the region. Jean and three other local vignerons, Marcel Lapierre, Jean-Paul Thevenet, and Guy Breton, soon joined in on the movement. This Gang of Four, as their importer christened them, called for a return to the old practices of viticulture and vinification: starting with old vines, never using synthetic herbicides or pesticides, harvesting late, rigorously sorting to remove all but the healthiest grapes, adding minimal doses of sulfur dioxide or none at all, and refusing both chaptalization and filtration. The end result allows Morgon to express itself naturally, as it should be without the bubblegum and banana aromas of so many other Beaujolais available today. Its rustic structure, spicy notes, and mineral-laden backbone are what real Morgon is all about.