Sunday, July 31, 2011

Foillard's Fleurie

A truly lovely Fleurie from Jean Foillard last night, the essence of what you - or at least I - want from Beaujolais. As well it might be. I bought it in a fit of extravagance from The Sampler in London when I was ordering some Dard et Ribo's (also painfully expensive) and now see it was £29. Still, what I tell myself in these moments of self-flagellation is that if I'd seen it on a wine list at £29 I'd have jumped at it. So that's fine then, isn't it?

It was also one of the rare wines that lives up to its name. It was floral (particularly violetty) but not merely pretty. There was a lovely suppleness and purity about it - the kind of wine where every sip is a thrill. Food (although we had some excellent pork belly with it) seemed an irrelevance.

Foillard of course is the other big name in Beaujolais, the other being the late, great Marcel Lapierre who apparently inspired him as he did so many young vignerons. There's a detailed account of how he works on Bert Celce's excellent Wine Terroirs blog here. His wines are made with a minimum of sulphur and with no fining or filtration.

They also, I discover, have a B & B. Now that is tempting.


  1. Very funny approach, Fiona, that whereby you compare a penny spent on wine in a restaurant with one spent at your wine merchant’s. If I understood correctly, that is. As far as pure pleasure is concerned, you are absolutely right. I had never thought of looking at the problem in that way. But the consequence – which is also very valid in my case – is that we drink far better wines at home than while eating out (in wine, by and large, prices bear some relationship with “quality”, at least for the discerning connoisseurs and if we exclude extremes). Yet, being myself an acceptable amateur cook only, I must admit the meals I enjoy in quality restaurants would command better bottles than my humble cuisine. But I cannot afford them on their premises.
    Second – short – comment: what do your readers (Anglo-Saxons most of them) think of food being irrelevant in the presence of some outstanding bottle of wine?

  2. Very good question, Luc. Shall ask Twitter!

  3. Just followed this from Twitter and .....

    I reckon food and wine is like a marriage. On its own either are capable of being enjoyed in their own right but will regularly compliment each other and exhibit different if not better qualities when appearing together.

    In context of the post, I have worked as a merchant and in numerous restaurants and I find it difficult to either justify the mark ups in many restaurants or find something that I really want.

    Solution : restaurants should embrace BYO of fine wines and charge a healthy corkage (eg 75% of cheapest wine). This should not be seen as cheap, just gives customer what they want..... ala Hawksmoor on Monday nights.

  4. For me, some wines perform better with food. Some stand on their own regardless of cuisine. Some wines are pure pleasure and unless I have the right pairing I don't want to waste a single sip. Some wines are so big they overpower food; some wines are overpowered by food.

    I don't think food is irrelevant but I think the challenge is finding a good bottle on-premise with structure and presence but not so much that it overwhelms the cuisine. That is why the Sommelier is employed.

    Prices, well no one likes being over-charged. Taxes and exchange rates don't help. Mid range wines in Korea are $80-120 USD a bottle on premise. The EU FTA is unlikely to lower these prices as tax savings get lower as they progress through the distribution chain.

    I don't think food is irrelevant. I do believe more restaurants should have a BYO policy. In Korea corkage is 20,000-30,000won ($22-33USD). Half the price of a good bottle retail! That's why I go to traditional Korean restaurants not nouveau cuisine Korean or Italian. No corkage.

  5. Interesting comments, Gregory and Joshua. what wines do you think work best with traditional Korean food?

  6. Hi Fiona,

    Never had much luck with this wine. I've always found it to be excessively volatile and un-Fleurie-like....I adore his Morgons though.