The 2020s have arrived, and well, quelle surprise – they’re pretty damn good! As Josh Reynolds of Vinous puts it: “Guy Breton, or “Max,” as he’s known to his friends, is making some of the most finely detailed and energetic wines in Beaujolais these days”.

Of all of the Gang of Four, Guy Breton is the most mercurial. Jean Foillard and Marcel Lapierre have their wines listed the breadth of the country, Jean-Paul Thevenet is a bit less well-known. Marcel Lapierre produces the most, at just over 8,000 cases and his output seems the easiest to find.

It seems Foillard, Breton and Jean-Paul Thevenet produce about the same (2,000 – 3,000 cases). The work of these four elder statesmen underpins  where Beaujolais is heading now, and their warm embrace has enfolded many winemakers outside the region into their way of thinking and working.

I suspect one of reasons that Guy’s wines are a bit more difficult to find is that he puts such a emphasis on supplying the French restaurant and bar a vin trade lubricated with his life-giving Gamay. He has always believed wine to be essential for a well-enjoyed life, and for that life and that wine to be shared.

Although stylistically different, it’s difficult to differentiate the quality of the Morgons of all four. They are all impeccable. Guy’s is a typically elegant expression, natural and conspicuously pure but with perhaps a slight spice component somewhat similar to what Alan Coudert achieves at Clos de la Roilette.

Even after about 30 vintages – Guy continues to strive for improvement and his new releases are as good as anything in the region, with even more definition to be found in the silky texture.

He strives for balance without weight, without the dominance of wood, so ageing is in old Burgundy barriques, subsequently, his wines his are typically light in colour, the lowest in alcohol, and the least tannic, but not at the expense of complexity or light-footed power. They they age like a dream. A 1989 Morgon (cork pictured) was still in fine health this year, if on the downward path. I would recommend 3-10 years max for most of the wines. I love old Beaujolais, but vigour is such a important part of these wines and after 10 years I feel you start to lose this.

In contrast to the high-wire act of producers like Dutraive and Metras, who hit joyful high-notes but can be plagued with issues with consistancy (particularly if not perfectly stored), Breton’s wines are wonderfully pure. Josh Reynolds says: “I haven’t figured out exactly how much sulfur Breton uses but in my experience, his wines seldom veer far off into realm of the funky, which suggests that he’s doing something right, as in using just enough to release stable wines that don’t turn into science projects during the trip from Beaujolais to my glass in New York”

Show Descriptions

Region
Vintage
Wine
Bottles
Unit
Status
Ex Vat
Inc Duty & Vat
Buy
Beaujolais Red2019
Chiroubles Cuvee Lea Guy Breton
2061IB1318+
Beaujolais Red2020
Cote de Brouilly Guy Breton
1141IB1318+
Beaujolais Red2019
Cote de Brouilly Guy Breton [Pre-Arrival]
212IB168234+
Beaujolais Red2020
Fleurie Guy Breton
1071IB1419+
Beaujolais Red2020
Morgon P`tit Max Guy Breton (Magnum)
51IB4053+
Beaujolais Red2020
Morgon VV Guy Breton
2131IB1419+
Beaujolais Red2019
Regnie Guy Breton (Magnum)
161IB2637+
Beaujolais Red2019
Regnie Guy Breton [Pre-Arrival]
212IB156219+