What's better, more information on the wine label or less? It depends on the wine. If a level of quality has been established for the wine as is the case with French Burgundy, then less is better. It's from the finest wine appellation in the world, after all, therefore we know it's going to be good and that's the case with our subject today. The Alex Foillard Cote de Brouilly has an attractive label depicting red grapes but spares us unnecessary verbiage. The back label indicates its reputable importer and that's really all we need to know.
Cote de Brouilly is one of the ten grand crus of Beaujolais, the southern end of Burgundy. It lies just below Morgon, one of the best Crus. Cote de Brouilly is the southernmost part of that southern section and it produces the softest red wines of the appellation.
Jean Foillard is the father of Alex, the winemaker we're talking about today, and Jean put Cote de Brouilly on the map by producing low intervention, "natural" wines. This novel category is actually not novel at all; it is the traditional way wines have been made through the centuries. It's taking what the vineyard gives you and working solely with that with nothing extraneous added to the process. While Alex is very much in the mold of his father, this wine includes "a small dose of sulphur."
The Gamay grapes for this wine are organically farmed on a single hectare of Chateau Lieu-dit land in the La Folie a Odenas region of Cote de Brouilly. The vines are thirty to sixty years old, planted in north facing vineyards of granite and sandy schist soils. The fermentation is done using the traditional carbonic maceration (whole bunches) method over a twenty-one day period in cement tanks using natural yeasts. The wine is pumped over every three days during the process.
The wine is unfiltered and sees a year of aging in French oak. Its texture has been characterized as silky and satiny with structured well-knit tannins. It also has a tangy acidity, minerality, juicy freshness with sweet and savory spices and potpourri. Fruit flavors may include raspberries, blood orange, strawberries, kirsch and perhaps candied cherries.
Here's your Thanksgiving dinner wine, folks.