Home > Good, ModGood, Tasting Notes and Wine Reviews > 2012 and 2013 Beaujolais from Foillard, Martray, Metras, and Thivin

2012 and 2013 Beaujolais from Foillard, Martray, Metras, and Thivin


Molaire d’Elephas primigenius de Villefranche. Image from “Le Beaujolais Prehistorique”, Bulletin of the Societe d’Anthropologie et de Biologie de Lyon. 1899.

The only Beaujolais Nouveau party I attended took place some 20 years ago when I was a student at Bristol University.  The Bristol Wine Circle sponsored the party which was held in the Student Union building.  They managed to secure a sizeable space and an absurdly large amount of wine.  There were 10 or 12 different wines, each one arrayed on their own table.  The group of which were set out in a U shape.  Behind each table stood a member of the Wine Circle ready to pour or open more bottles and underneath each table were extra cases of wine to keep the party going.  There was a cover charge which entitled one to drink as much as possible or desired.  The wines were fine, certainly nothing compelling to my novice palate.  Each table had opened several bottles of wine to be ready for the expected crowds.  Despite the promise of unlimited wine, the crowds never showed up.  A general order to stop uncorking bottles went out followed by the order to dispatch throughout the Union to gather thirsty students.

I went to the rather large pub, which was a haze of music, bright lights, strobes, and the smell of beer.  I was unsuccessful in encouraging students to switch from paying for each pint to drinking liters of wine.  One student responded, knowingly, “why would I drink that stuff?”  My disposition at the time was that there were certainly other 18 year old students with a developed appreciation of wine.  I certainly thought so that night but it could also have been an immunity to unlimited amounts of alcohol.  There were student pubs in the dormitories which periodically cleared stock by holding Drink The Bar Dry nights.  These were structured to progressively decrease the price of drinks as the evening progressed.  They certainly were not designed to raise money as with resident students behind the bars, there were many free drinks handed out.  Glasses, bottles, and bodied piled up at a geometric rate.  Whatever the reason, our Beaujolais Nouveau party ended early.  We packed up the unopened bottles then headed to a nearby wine bar for glasses of Port.

Neolithic Silex implements from Station d’Odenas. Image from “Le Beaujolais Prehistorique”, Bulletin of the Societe d’Anthropologie et de Biologie de Lyon. 1899.

The soils of Beaujolais have yielded a diverse set of prehistoric artifacts.  These range from molars to stone implements to bronze tools.   It is rather fascinating to think that roots of some grapevines may intermingle such artifacts.  I wonder if there are some very small parcels of vines somewhere which are directly influenced by such items.  Imagine fruit sourced in Maryland from soils of late Woodland shell middens, bronze influenced vines of France, or a parcel on decomposed Roman ruins.

From the Bronze Age. Image from “Le Beaujolais Prehistorique”, Bulletin of the Societe d’Anthropologie et de Biologie de Lyon. 1899.

This week I tasted through several bottles of Beaujolais.  My return to Beaujolais Nouveau took place with the 2013 Jean Foillard, Beaujolais Nouveau.  Phil recommended the wine to me and I recommend it to you.  Perhaps it may seem a few weeks late to be writing about Nouveau but this is a serious wine.  The fruit is sourced from vines in Courcelles which is literally located just outside of the Morgon appellation.  This tastes like a “regular” Beaujolais with some depth and minerals.  My first exposure to the wines of Yvon Metras was the 2012 Yvon Metras, Beaujolais.  His wines have not been regularly imported into America for a number of years so it is rare stuff.  That fact combined with the 50% reduction in yield for the 2012 vintage means you should grab some before it disappears.  This was a very “natural” wine which I preferred best on the first night.  At the time I imagined I was drinking from a straw which went straight to France.  The 2012 Chateau Thivin, Cotes de Brouilly was more approachable than the 2011 was in youth.  It has good concentration, presence, and should develop well in the cellar.  Last is the 2011 Laurent Martray, Combiaty Vieilles Vignes, Brouilly.  It is full of earth and old-perfume which is a combination I really like.  I would give it a few more months to sort itself out.  These wines were purchased at MacArthur Beverages.

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2013 Jean Foillard, Beaujolais Nouveau – $18
Imported by Kermit Lynch.  This wine is 100% Gamay sourced from vines which are 40-60 years old on soils of sand.  Alcohol 11.5%.  The color was a light ruby cranberry.  The nose bore cherry fruit, some black fruit, and a hint of pepper.  In the mouth were bright, red cherry flavors at the start followed by some depth and a pepper hint.  It takes on mineral flavors towards the finish. ** Now-2014.

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2012 Yvon Metras, Beaujolais – $25
Alcohol 11.5%.  The color was a light, slightly cloudy (bottle has sediment) cranberry.  The nose was of fresh berries, floral perfume, complex spice, and citrus.  It eventually took on rose-hip tea and potpourri aromas.  In the mouth the wine began with lots of ripe, lemon acidity, some yeast, followed by tangy and citrus red fruit.  It taste incredibly fresh with lots of tang and a little grip in the finish.  On the second night it had a more pronounced yeast flavor and strong flavors evocative of dried popcorn in the aftertaste.  *** Now-2015.

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2012 Chateau Thivin, Cotes de Brouilly – $20
Imported by Kermit Lynch.  This wine is 100% Gamay sourced from vines averaging 50 years of age.  Alcohol 13%.  There was a nose of low-lying, strawberry aromas and mixed fruit.  In the mouth were black and red fruit followed by mineral notes and more black fruit.  The wine is compact then opens up with some concentration and a touch of ripe, grip.  It returns to black and red fruit in the finish.  With air it takes on firm stones in the finish with plentiful and good acidity.  There is good presence in the aftertaste.  *** 2014-2019.

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2011 Laurent Martray, Combiaty Vieilles Vignes, Brouilly – $15
Imported by Elite Wine Imports.  This wine is 100% Gamay sourced from 40 year old vines which is aged in large oak foudres.  Alcohol 12.5%.  The nose was earthy with pepper and greenhouse aromas.  In the mouth were light black fruit flavors.  The earthy component built towards the finish along with old-school perfume.  There was a ripe hint in the finish.  With air pepper notes developed as well as a moderate structure.  The acidity was on the front and sides of the tongue.  It had a stone firmness to the structure.  On the first night it had the most earthy and old perfume while on the second night it had more firm, red fruit and dry stone flavors.  **(*) 2014-2018.

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