Morgon wine appellations
Morgon is one of our favourite and most-visited wine appellations sitting in the Beaujolais region of France which lies between the cities of Lyon and Beaune, at the southern end of the official Burgundy region. It is a short drive north west of Lyon as can be seen from the map of France below.
The Morgon appellation is famous for deeply-coloured red wines from the Gamay grape. The wines are crafted exclusively in the small commune of Villié-Morgon.
The character that is so evident in the wines is imparted to the grapes by the ageing schist and crumbling granite soils in which the vines thrive. The vines are cropped close to the ground because the vines of the Gamay grape - the only red grape permitted in this region - are fragile and need to be pruned aggressively. There is also a well-known affinity between the Gamay grape and the soils leached from granitic rocks and ancient schist.
Although the Gamay grape is the only one ever mentioned here, wine makers are permitted to belnd up to 15% of white grapes into the red wine if they want to. The white grape varieties that are permitted are Chardonnay, Aligoté, Melon de Bourgogne and Pinot Gris. The most popular red grape of the Burgundy region, Pinot Noir, can also be added provided the total of its usage and the white grapes added do not exceed 15%.
To understand the wines of Morgon it helps to understand the sometimes overlooked Beaujolais area in general.
There are three levels of Beaujolais wines. The first level is labelled Beaujolais, the second is labelled Beaujolais Villages (where the grapes are grown in specified communes) and the third level represents the ten 'crus' where the finest wines are made (Brouilly, Chénas, Chiroubles, Fleurie, Morgon, Moulin-à-Vent, Saint-Amour, Juliénas, Côte de Brouilly and Régnié).
We became particularly fond of Morgon wines on recent trips to the Beaujolais region. We have been enchanted by the various offerings of the compact Cote de Py lieu dit within the Morgon appellation as well as the Les Charmes lieu dit. There are seven climats or lieu dits in all, namely Côte de Py, Les Micouds, Javerniere, Les Grands Cras, Les Charmes, Corcelette and Douby.
Anyone who has experienced some of the better examples from this appellation will be totally captivated by the charming nature of these elegant wines that represent excellent value for money.
Domaine Jean Foillard
Jean Foillard is without doubt one of the most skilful and one of the most influential winemakers in all of France. He is one of the foremost exponents of natural winemaking and his silky Morgons are testament to what can be achieved when winemakers revert to making wine the way it used to be made.
His wines have expressive fruit flavours and a silky, velvet texture that is quite beguiling.