2019 Alex Foillard Beaujolais-Villages, FRANCE. 750ml
To say that Gamay runs in the blood would not be such a terrible exaggeration for Alex Foillard. The son of “Gang of Four” Morgon producer Jean Foillard, Alex had early exposure to the world of wine, and more specifically, to the principles of sustainable farming and low-intervention winemaking that brought his father to stardom in natural wine circles, along with like-minded neighbors such as Marcel Lapierre, Guy Breton, and Jean-Paul Thévenet.
Alex’s involvement in the family business began at a young age, as he took an early interest in the vineyards and enjoyed helping his father pick grapes during harvest. Intent on carrying on the family tradition of producing handcrafted cru Beaujolais, Alex studied agriculture at the Lycée Agricole in Montpellier, then earned a degree in viticulture and enology in Beaune, while simultaneously interning at a well-respected domaine in Nuits-Saint-Georges. Upon finishing his studies, he sought to earn further experience in vinification via additional internships in Australia plus another with a producer in Japan. Upon returning home to the Beaujolais, in 2015, Alex truly began dedicating himself to the family domaine.
The following year, and only twenty-four years old, he purchased his very own vineyards. With roughly a hectare each in the crus of Brouilly and Côte-de-Brouilly, Alex successfully diversified the Foillard cellars, until then full of Morgon along with the odd barrel of Fleurie. Though the vineyards were not certified organic, he immediately began working them according to organic principles. The 2016 vintage marked his first harvest.
Jean’s influence is evident in Alex’s solo cuvées: the wines have a seductive aromatic component, a silky texture, and a downright deliciousness that is unmistakably Foillard. After all, Alex used tried-and-true techniques to craft his wines: whole-cluster fermentation with natural yeasts, no fining or filtration, and no additives of any kind save for a minute sulfur dose at bottling. The new generation at Domaine Foillard has burst onto the scene with a bang, and the future is full of exciting possibilities for this talented Beaujolais youngster. Kermit Lynch