Don't be put off by the appearance of quietness emanating from this table scene, this wine moment was NOT quiet...
I don't know if this is the rule, but I've experienced already quite intense moments around a table tasting wines during a visit at Agnès & Jean Foillard. For this particular one, I was with a foreign wine person in the trade and the tour could have consisted into the routine tasting of the last wines, something we actually did too and which by itself was largely worth the journey, but other elements always add up, you don't know how, and the normally predictable visit turns out to be something you remember long time after.
So, let's begin with the beginning (the scene above came after a while) : we show up in the morning, between 9 and 10, after having reached the Beaujolais the previous day, and Jean greets us, leaving us a few minutes alone with Agnès to begin the tasting of a few wines while he's driving somewhere for a short thing to do. We have just time to spot the great logo (in spite of its small size) on the left rear of his delivery van. Discreet enough so that he'll not be stormed by a crowd of unbridled wine amateurs, but still a signature for those in the know... If you spot this grape-thirsty character in a traffic jam near Paris, you may have Jean Foillard at the wheel...
The morning begins quietly, we walk into, and sit in the large room on the right with a brick oven on the side and Agnès brings the bottles and opens them.
__ Foillard Corcelette 2011. My notes on the notebook are short. Good, soft and fresh. Dust notes on the nose. Discreet tannins.
__ Foillard Fleurie 2011. Less open, harder style. Bottled august 2012.
__ Foillard Côte de Py 2011. Very beautiful, velvety, fresh, with also a nice dust feel. Such an easy drink. This is the cuvée he's selling now, Jean says.
__ Foillard Fleurie 2010. Very charming wine. Soil : pink and yellow sandstone. Exposition : south.
__ Foillard Côte de Py 2002. Sold out, just to taste. So nice, fresh. Delightful, fullness in the the mouth.
__ Foillard Côte de Py, cuvée 3,14 2009. From older vines. Even fresher, says Agnès. She adds that the roots go deeper and that the vines suffer less from the summer heat. More elegant. Nice translucid color.
Then a few vineyard workers dropped in and Jean Foillard invited them for a few glasses, and here we go for a few wines from fellow vignerons...
The sequence began with a scene like the one on the left, and it took just a few good wines to wash away the tiredness of a full work day in the vineyard (picture on right).
__ First, a beautiful white Maconnais, a Pouilly Loché AOC 2008 by Céline and Laurent Tripoz, delicious wine. This Burgundy estate is farmed in biodynamy and its wines seem to be available in both France and abroad.
__ Then a Loire white, a Clos du Tue-Boeuf Frileuse 2006 (vin de table) by Puzelat. Another nice drink, and you could feel that these successive layers of liquid treat raised the mood of the party.
__ Then (do these vignerons have a wine library somewhere ?) another Burgundy white from the Maconnais, a Pouilly-Vinzelles by Domaine Valette. Old vines. A dry wine with a good acidity, very good for sea food.
I'll add the link to the wine shop when it will start business.
First, there was this beef dish consisting in gorgeous sliced meat, tender and everything. Asked about which part of the beef this was, Jean Foillard said it was paleron, and to underline the info, he brought some sort of informative "beef map" where you can locate the different and unique types of meet found in a beef. Very informative, many of us begin to know a little bit about the wine things, origin, winemaking mrthods and varieties, but what about the beef parts and the beef cuts ? I'm very ignorant about the issue, with maybe the excuse that these sought-after cuts are often quite expensive.
See below for more detail on this beef-cuts "map".
Gorgeous treat, so tender and delicate in taste, the picture makes them look darker than they were. Jean says that it's well known that asparagus are very difficult to pair with wine, but Gamay happens to be are fit for this particularly-delicate vegetable. And we're not having any gamay to try the wine pairing, but no less than a Morgon Côte de Py 1996 that Jean has found in his cellar I guess... The wine is a treat by itself, very hansome after all these years, Jean says that 1196 was a very generous vintage where the grapes riped very late in the season, that's why most growers picked too early (I understand that he waited later than the average). We all wonder at this wine which tastes so good, alone or with the asparagus...
Asked about conditions of the vintage 2012, Jean said that this was a small vintage in terms of volume, with frost, hailstorm and mildew taking their toll on the grape load. He ads that with all the rain they couldn't even spray the vineyards, and the organic sprayings aren't as efficient as the conventional.
As you can see, the leaves were very pale in mid-may, by lack of light and heat.
I love this parcel of Corcelettes, with the orchards on the side and the village so close.
__1 Queue; __2 Rumsteak; __3 Rond de Gite; __4 Gite-Gite; __5 Tende de Tranche; __6 Gite à la Noix; __7 Rond de Tranche; __8 Tranche Grasse; __9 Faux Filet (Contrefilet); __10 Filet; __11 Aiguillette baronne; __12 Bavette à Bifteck; __13 Bavette Pot-au-Feu; __14 Flanchet; __15 Onglet; __16 Hampe; __17 Tendron; __18 Entrecotes; __19 Plat-de-Cote; __20 Poitrine; __21 Cotes; __22 Basses-Cotes; __23 Macreuse; __24 Paleron; __25 Jumeau; __26 Charolaise; __27 Gite-gite Avant; __28 Griffe; __29 Veine Maigre (2ème Talon); __30 Veine Grasse.
yiu have two days to memorize that...
These characters were waiting for the closing time, and the nice young woman behind the counter seemed to know them too well. I wasn't sure to understand everything they said, I guess they had been around in this bar or other bars for a few hours, at least it seemed like. We had intended to eat there but there was no service that evening.
For dinner, we had been to a restaurant not far from Villié Morgon, the Auberge de Corcelles in the namesake village a handfull of kilometers from there, a classy-looking restaurant where the food is prepared by a talented Japanese chef, Kazumi Hatakenaka. Great food, definetely worth a detour. The wine list on the other hand was quite disconnected with the heartbeat of today's Beaujolais, there was hardly 2 wines from the (call it natural) new generation of uninterventionist vintners, and the two lone cuvées (from Marcel Lapierre and J.P. Brun) were sold out. The waiter, who seemed unexpressive and bored by his job just said that the clients here weren't usually asking for "this type of wines", to which we should have answered "so why are these 2 cuvées the only ones being sold out??" The clients were indeed very "conventional" from a quick look, and it was a lot of fun to listen discreetly to the conversation at the table in my back, where a man in his late 60s was discussing with his wife of the investment they'd made recently in their house, the curtains, the bed, the fixtures and so on (oh my god, at this stage I already couldn't believe my ears), but then to my surprise the conversation drifted to wine and the man told his wife how his Chiroubles wines (obviously conventional, I heard the Domaine's name but will spare them exposure) had had a success in a town fair somewhere in eastern Germany. From his own account you could understand that the visitors of his stand there were completely novice, and he ended up having a very good time, expanding in self-congratulation in front of his admirative half. He was telling his dear how wine had to be marketed as a product and the price was not a problem when the target market got the right image of the product... I still regret at this hour not to have recorded all the scene, from the furniture part to the wine event in eastern Germany, this would have been really a Mondovino-quality audio document through which you had an incredibly-vivid picture of the universe and mindset of conventional-wine people in France, as little exciting as their wines.
We ended up ordering a Moulin à Vent by Domaine Rottier (pic on left) cause the waiter said it was the only other organic (in conversion actually) but organic isn't the issue I'm afraid if the cellar part is not there, and we couldn't even finish the first glass, the wine was very extracted and high in alcohol, in short, boring. The waiter didn't bother to help us around this issue.
Just for the comparison, we went to another restaurant the previous day where we also made a mistake when we ordered a bottle. The restaurant was the Relais des Caveaux in Villié Morgon (a must-visit restaurant for both the food and the wines), and the boss who was doing the service caught immediately that we were a bit disappointed by the wine (Pic on right, a Thevenet, but not the best one...) that we had ordered, and he took the bottle away at no charge, replacing it by a wine by the glass of his choice.
the Relais des Caveaux is located on the other side of the street (almost) from the Atelier du Cuisinier.