A bit more than two years ago, at the Grands Jours de Bourgogne in Marsannay, I had the pleasure of tasting the wines of Laurent Fournier for the first time.
I was impressed to find fine energy and vivacity in his wines, and a hedonistic flair that I don’t normally find in the wines from the northernmost appellations of the Cote d’Or. That being said, there are more and more delightful wines being produced there, and the work being done to have the vineyard classification upgraded and/or updated is truly great.
Still, I was impressed by the Fournier wines, and when I saw one on the wine list in Hamburg – Die Bank – last fall, I decided a visit should be planned.
So now two years later (Yes, I’m that fast!!), we are in Marsannay visiting Laurent Fournier, even though it cost us a pair of flat tyres to get there!
Domaine Jean Fournier – the estate
Laurent Fournier is a dynamic vigneron working hard to promote the Marsannay appellation. He furthermore runs a large estate with many, mainly Marsannay, wines produced. The estate was founded in the 17th century in the core of Marsannay – and now has 16.5 ha in total … a quite large estate – with further 4.5 ha not yet planted.
The estate goes back many decades – and Laurent Fournier took over from his father after his education in Beaune, supplemented by practical experience in Bordeaux at Château La Fleur Petrus. Laurent began working with his dad in 2001, and took over completely two years later. Since 2008, the estate has been Ecocert-certified organic (AB certification).
Marsannay is a complex appellation, and with my relatively limited knowledge about its terroirs, an article like this is complex at best, to be perfectly frank. To claim I know all the climats in Marsannay would be an exaggeration, to say the least.
It would be great to have a classification of Marsannay’s vineyards codified, with its – to be – 1ers crus and villages separated to provide a framework for those wanting to understand the depth of Marsannay.
Domaine Jean Fournier – the style
Fournier is practitioner of balance. His wines are not in the wild or extreme category, yet they do have tremendous depth and intensity. They are organically styled with a lower, more moderate use of sulphur, which gives a lovely, hedonistic, gratifying feel. The wines please your palate with their fine energy, while being quite classical in the best sense.
So let’s go to the notes!
Domaine Jean Fournier Bourgogne Rouge 2018
Relatively young, ten-year-old vines give a forward, youthful wine. The vivid fruit – relatively cool and enjoyable – sets the scene for the next reds. Enjoyable and airy.
(Drink from Now) – Good – (85-86p) – Tasted 13/03/2020
Domaine Jean Fournier Aloxe-Corton 2018
The Aloxe-Corton village is well-perfumed, with a bouquet of blueberries and hints of boysenberries in the background. It’s elegant for a 2018, with a medium-bodied character. Intense, and with a precise finish; drinking well, but it cannot hide its 14% alcohol.
(Drink from 2023) – Good – (85-87p) – Tasted 13/03/2020
Domaine Jean Fournier Gevrey-Chambertin 2018
The Gevrey-Chambertin is from the well-known Clos Prieur, located in the area between Mazis Chambertin and the main vineyard road (note this vineyard has both village and a 1er cru parts – Clos Prieur Haut). This is the village, but in 2018 it is a big wine. It’s on the warm side, with a slight hint of prune indicating the relatively warm location of the plot. This is more typically 2018, yet it does have nice focus.
(Drink from 2026) – Very Good – (88-89p) – Tasted 13/03/2020
Domaine Jean Fournier Fixin Les Petit Crais 2018
Les Petit Crais is located in the core of the village – really, inside the village. The 2018 is tighter and more focused than the Gevrey and the Aloxe. The medium-bodied palate offers ripe, dark cherries spiced with a sexy note of boysenberries. A delightful Fixin, with a fresh, energetic framework,
(Drink from 2026) – Very Good – (88-89p) – Tasted 13/03/2020 –
Domaine Jean Fournier Bourgogne Le Chapitre Vielles Vignes 2018
Bourgogne le Chapitre – rumours say it is soon going to be Marsannay Le Chapitre – is one of the legendary vineyards of Marsannay. Many growers contribute to the fame of Le Chapitre, with the Bizot plot perhaps the most renowned. For the geeks, Chapitre is located north of Chenove and Clos du Roy, almost in Dijon. The 2018 Bourgogne Le Chapitre has a more pronounced mineral presence, offering a stony, mineral note, and lovely mulberry and boysenberry fruit. It’s precise and intense – surely deserving a cru upgrade.
(Drink from 2027) – Very Good – (89p) – Tasted 13/03/2020 –
Domaine Jean Fournier Marsannay Clos du Roy 2018
Marsannnay Clos du Roy is also a part of Chenove, on the border between it and Marsannay-la-Côte. This is a large vineyard with a fine reputation, and Fournier has both red and white. The Marsannay Clos du Roy 2018 has a perfumed nose of boysenberries with hints of raspberries and lingonberries, and perhaps even some orange notes. The potential here is notable. Very enjoyable, with its mineral note of Comblanchien limestone.
(Drink from 2027) – Very Good – (89-90p) – Tasted 13/03/2020 –
Domaine Jean Fournier Marsannay Longeroies 2018
From the northern part of Marsannay, Longeroies is just south of Chenove and Clos du Roy. The 2018 Marsannay Les Longeroies is darker than the Clos du Roy, offering boysenberries, hints of ash or tar, and a breath of mintiness. It has a velvety and delicate character, and is drinking beautifully.
(Drink from 2025) – Very Good – (88-90p) – Tasted 13/03/2020
Domaine Jean Fournier Marsannay Es Chezots 2018
The Es Chezots (or Echezeaux) is higher on the slope overlooking Marsannay. This is ripeness-wise a bit on the hot side compared with the other 2018s. A goodly number of small berries (millerandage) give this wine quite a sweet, ripe character. It has some fine berry notes, but regardless, it’s a bit on the hotter side.
(Drink from 2026) – Very Fine – (88-89p) – Tasted 13/03/2020
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