Burgundy is about all change – and since I have been collecting Bourgundian wines for almost 25 years, a lot of changes has happened since I began to buy wines from the region.
When I began the “Parker wave” in Burgundy had just started (in view one of the darkest periods in recent Bourgundian history) – with dark powerful and extracted wines made – apparently to get high scores with Mr. Parker. A lot of wines were non-Burgundian in the most tragic sense leaving them big, dark and without prospect of developing much complexity or true pleasure for that matter (in my view that is!).
But as mentioned times changes and by the turn to the new millennium the extraction was reduced and a new more classic style was implemented – and while some continued with the dark and dense wines, many took on a more fruity and forward style.
The Gevrey-Chambertin appellation was one of areas that was badly hit by the extraction wave, but some producers embraced another more unmanipulated and light handed vinification.
Jean-Marie Fourrier took over in 1994 in the middle of the extraction wave .. but despite the apparent financial success of the #extractors he implemented a lighter and fruity style from the beginning.
To be honest I did not fall head over heals in love with the Fourrier style in the beginning, as it was quite a contrast to the other wines I was tasting at the time – but my palate adapted to these more forward and fruit driven wines – just as Fourrier at the same time made great progress improving the definition and purity of the wines.
I do admire that Fourrier took another route – while many collectors took the wrong turn and bought these hard and dark wines – been there, done that and got no T-shirt to show for it!!
In the end I fully embraced the Fourrier style and since then I have been a fan of his wines – and consequently I really wanted to visit the estate to taste the 2015s.
Vist at Domaine Jean-Marie Fourrier
So this was my first visit at Domaine Fourrier and a very interesting one – Jean-Marie Fourrier is a man of vision and talent, and is very open and forward about his opinions and views .. so I had a yielding couple of hours with him tasting most of the 2015 estate wines, and some of the negociant bottlings.
It’s often mentioned that Jean-Marie Fourrier worked with Henri Jayer – just as this name is used for marketing purposes by many merchants about a lot of producers in Vosne-Romanee.
I must give Jean-Marie Fourrier credit for his relaxed and unsentimental attitude towards the time he spend with Henri Jayer. I’m pretty sure Jean-Marie Fourrier have picked up a lot of details from Jayer, but he is not trying to use this to sell his wines, on the contrary he has a respectful but also critical view on what was done back in the days when he worked for Jayer.
Jean-Marie Fourrier believes in a light hand in the vinification and this is pretty clear when one taste the different cuvées at the estate. The wines are effortless and forward fruity with a fine inner tension and balance – lovely energy and with a fine delicate expression of the Gevrey terroirs. Only around 20% new oak is used – i.e. very far from the 100% new oak used by Jayer. No whole cluster grapes are used aside from some experiments back in the mid 1990s.
The low oak, the destemmed grapes, the old vines and the light handed vinification translates into silky and fruity wines, that renders some very charming and elegant styled Gevrey-Chambertins ….
This is in my view the perfect approach in 2015 where the vintage will provide all the power and weight needed and where keeping the freshness and delicacy in the wines is the key. This is a great year for the Gevrey appellation .. and with those words .. to the tasting notes!
Tasting notes from the tasting on November 9th 2016
All the wines below were tasted from tank, and showed very well with only little reduction to compromise the tasting experience.
First out the Morey-Saint-Denis Clos Solon 2015 – the entry level village of the Fourrier line-up. This is a wine offering all the basic qualities of the estate – pure, silky and juicy fruit, fine intensity yet quite lightfooted and refined – lovely transparency and balance. The nose offer a fine range of red and dark berry fruit and a fine expression of the earthy minerality of the Solon terroir located just below the village alongside the D974. On the palate generous and juicy fruit – silky and rich for the label. Is offering all the generosity of the vintage .. a wine for pleasure and enjoyment. Very Good (89 – 90p).
Taking a step up to the Gevrey-Chambertin Aux Echezeaux – this is adding some mineral focus to the wine, although the terroir Aux Echezeaux is located in the Morey end of Gevrey-Chambertin – just below Mazoyeres-Chambertin. The bouquet offer rich and quite generous fruit supported by a fine mineral structure. On the palate rich, velvet fruit – very juicy offering more energy than the Clos Solon. A step up in quality with more detail and focus – Fine (91- 92p).
The Gevrey-Chambertin Vielles Vignes is the top act of the Fourrier village wines – and mainly made from plots with very old wines (hence the name!!). This is another step up in especially depth and profoundness … the bouquet offer layers of red and dark berry fruit …. vibrant and juicy with a quite filigree supporting minerality. On the palate loads of juicy fruit – generous with tremendous depth for this level … silky and long with a very fine intensity and a lovely energy. It may lack the mineral focus of Aux Echezeaux .. but the generous layered fruit does somehow make this my favorite village from Fourrier in 2015 – Fine+ (91 – 93).
Next the Gevrey-Chambertin Champeaux a 1er cru located in the upper northern part of the appellation on the border to Brochon. This is a love cool 1er cru with a beautiful balance. The nose offer ample fruit – detailed red and dark berries, with a nice playful interaction between the more ripe notes and some hints of red currant. On the palate some story – very generous yet still focused and detailed – love the tension and energy in this wine – Very Fine (93 – 94p).
The 1er cru Gevrey-Chambertin Les Goulots is located just above Campeaux. This is a more rich and creamy wine – still balanced but perhaps missing a bit of the tension in the Champeaux. The bouquet offer a fine collection of red and dark berries and a nice mineral note to focus the generosity. On the palate very generous and sensual – with a deep silky layered fruit. It’s a truly hedonistic glass … lovely and Very Fine (93 – 94p)
Gevrey Chambertin-Combe Aux Moines – a slightly overlooked vineyard in my view – has produced this excellent wine – and perhaps the overachiever in the Fourrier lineup in 2015. This wine offer a very fine freshness and energy – presumably cooled by the breeze from the Combe above the vineyard – hence more red fruit and fresh notes of red currant and pomegranate and first and foremost this seem to have a very fine acidity for the vintage. The nose offer a beautiful collection of red and dark forest berries – balanced somewhat towards the fresher red notes. On the palate very vibrant and juicy fruit – lovely tension and freshness with a core of red pomegranate and red currant fruit. This is a magnificent wine – Very Fine+ (94 – 95p)
The Gevrey-Chambertin Clos St. Jacques is a step up in quality, length and depth. There are two Clos St. Jacques made – this from old vines and another made from very old vines (not tasted). Again .. rich and ample fruit in the bouquet and one sense a more powerful focusing minerality lurking from beneath the berry aromas. On the palate the firm hand of this magnificent terroir is felt even more as it lift and focus the generous fruit with a powerful backbone of earthy minerality – this is a magnificent terroir. I really love the energetic inner tension of the fruit in this wine – this is what great 2015s are all about – Outstanding (95 – 96p).
Top of the line of the Fourrier estate wines is Griotte-Chambertin – a very expressive and generous wine. The Griotte-Chambertin from Fourrier is located in the northern end of the vineyard, going from the bottom of the vineyard – hence I must say that I’m very impressed that Fourrier has maintained such a good freshness and energy in this wine given this must be quite a hot area. The bouquet is very expressive bursting with fruit .. rich, ripe and with a nice expression of a deep complex earthy minerality. On the palate generous and ample fruit – ripe yet balanced with a nice freshness and energy and inner tension. It’s a big wine, but still quite lightfooted in the classic Fourrier way – fruit driven and charming. I do love a magnificent Griotte … Outstanding+ (96 – 97p)
The Fourrier negociant wines
Jean-Marie Fourrier also have a negociant business – although not quite in the traditional way, where he makes wines from selected sourced grapes. The wines are made just as the regular cuvées and are as such similar styled and if the grapes are of the same quality, then the wines will consequently equal in quality to the estate wines.
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Lastest Tasting Notes for this producer
- Domaine Fourrier, Gevrey Chambertin Les Goulots 2013 March 11, 2017
- Domaine Fourrier, Griotte-Chambertin 1999 August 12, 2016
- Domaine Fourrier, Gevrey Chambertin Clos St. Jacques 2002 September 13, 2015
- Domaine Fourrier, Gevrey Chambertin Les Cherbaudes 2011 January 30, 2015
- Domaine Fourrier, Gevrey Les Cherbaudes 2012 July 15, 2014
- Domaine Fourrier, Morey-Saint-Denis Clos Solon 2011 January 14, 2014
- Domaine Fourrier, Bourgogne Blanc 2011 January 12, 2014
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