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 elder statesmen underpins all of 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 pure but with perhaps a spice component somewhat similar to what Alan Coudert achieves at Clos de la Roilette.
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 2017, there was quality but not quantity. These are joyful wines, uplifting and full of bonhomie, not excessively rich, but well concentrated with great balance overall. A mouthful of joy.