There is something no-nonsense and straightforward about Foillard’s wine. It seems to say, let’s cut straight to deliciousness. Deliciousness with class. It has a wonderful texture going down. The finesse from start to finish seems almost offhanded. – Kermit Lynch
I am Batman! Here to save you from the uninspired Thanksgiving wine Beaujolais Nouveau (BN). A product of exceptional marketing, it is found on the tables at almost every feast on that holiday. Fine and dandy but you deserve something more thrilling.
I have a story to tell first: I was in Paris and dining at a bistro in the 13th for the fourth time. I was tired and had no idea what I wanted to order and so glanced at the table next to me and saw a half bottle of something called a “Morgon” housed in a pretty bottle. I tasted it and the experience was transformative. I fell in love with wine, realizing I needed to “get closer to it.” That was the event that launched me on wine journey to wine geek (minus the pretense). Thank you Morgon for setting me on my path.
Back to the heart of this post: your alternative to Beaujolais Nouveau. You don’t have to stray far; you can still have the Gamay grape that is BN but have it from one of the cru appellations, all of which have their charms. There are 10 Beaujolais crus that have the potential to be “please pass the bottle” wines on Thanksgiving:
1.Brouilly, 2. Régnié, 3.Chiroubles – lighter body style
- Côte de Brouilly, 5. Fleurie, 6. Saint-Amour – medium body style
7. Chénas, 8. Juliénas, 9. Morgon, 10. Moulin-à-Vent – fuller body style
I tend to favor the Fleurie and the Morgon for whatever reason but have enjoyed the pleasure of a fine Saint-Amour and Moulin-a-Vent. In my little wine locker you will find Jean Foillard Morgon from the 2008, 2009, and 2010 and now the 2011 vintage (pictured). Don’t be put off by the wax on the bottle in the photo, which is rather aesthetically pleasing. The Foillard style is generally rustic in structure, touched by spice, backed by mouthwatering minerality, and simply delicious.
So please talk to your trusted wine merchant and get a recommendation. But here’s a bit of a cheat sheet. For the traditional Thanksgiving meal I would start with a Fleurie. Look for the following winemakers: Jean Paul Brun, Julien Sunier, Clos de la Roilette, and Domaine Chignard. I would also have a bottle of Foillard Morgon to share – the look on the faces of folks not familiar with cru Beaujolais will result in a holiday memory worth keeping. They cost more ($20 and up) than a BN and you get what you pay for. They will do justice to the truly special meal that is the Thanksgiving feast.
So let me know what you find out. Until then, I am Batman – a superhero here to rescue you from the evils of truly boring wine. Ready to bring you joy!