If the name Jean Foillard rings a bell or the label looks familiar, that's because it is! Jean Foillard is without question, the best producer in Beaujolais. These are some of the most sought-after wines in the world and with good reason. Jean Foillard is one of the greats – not just for Beaujolais but for the French wine industry as a whole – starting his career as one of the disciples of French winemaking legend Jules Chauvet (together with Yvon Métras, Marcel Lapierre, Guy Breton and Jean-Paul Thévenet), he and his wife Agnès have been working their vineyard in Morgon together since 1980, and for the past decade have been joined by their son Alex, who has been producing wines under his own name (and under Jean's tutelage) for five years now too.
As always, these wines are deep, structured and complex, or as pioneering French wine importer Kermit Lynch puts it, "always with a velvety lushness that makes them irresistible when young, despite their aging potential."
Athanor is something special and very limited in supply - the 2015 vintage was exceptionally warm and produced wines with insane depth and fruit, but for Jean, his top cuvée, 3.14 (a word-play on Pi / Py / Côte du Py) was so atypical it wasn't released as normal and was instead given its own name - Athanor.
Athanor is a reference to the furnace that medieval alchemists believed could turn base metals into gold. This is a one-off wine, from 100yo vines on Côte du Py where there is schist and granite, it spent 4 years in barrique and then nearly 2 years in bottle before its release. Some 16 degrees alcohol, it's undeniably Gamay and undeniably Foillard, but almost as if he was influenced by famous Amarone della Valpolicella producer Giuseppe Quintarelli!