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J-M Fourrier Gevrey-Chambertin 2015
- Great Domaines
all ratings out of 100 points.
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"Here the more reserved nose is compositionally similar to the Aux Echézeaux but it's spicier. The succulent and fleshy medium-bodied flavors possess good mid-palate richness which contrasts markedly with the firm, serious and robust finale that displays a touch of rusticity. This recommended effort is also very good and very Gevrey." - Allen Meadows, Burghound
100% Pinot Noir
20% new oak barriques for 18 months
Vineyards & vinification:
Vinified from vines around Gevrey-Chambertin, with an average age of 60 years. Bottled unfiltered.
Ever since fourth-generation vintner Jean-Marie Fourrier took over from his father in 1994, the wines of Domaine Fourrier have garnered critical acclaim. Ably assisted by his charming wife, Vicki, the domaine acts as guardian to 10 hectares of vineyard spread across the commune of Gevrey-Chambertin. Highlights include parcels that range from Bourgogne-classified vineyards right up to grand cru level, the highlight no doubt his Griotte-Chambertin Grand Cru.
The impeccably tended vineyards comprise of vines between 50 and 70 years old. Sélection massale (use of cuttings from existing vines) is the only method used to replace failing vines. Respect for terroir is paramount, and therefore the use of only minimal spraying is used - herbicides are totally avoided.
Instead of sorting his grapes using the usual table method, Jean-Marie prefers to sort his grapes whilst still on the vine, just before picking. He believes that once the grapes have been de-stemmed, the opportunity for oxidation is too high to risk table sorting. After de-stemming, they are lightly crushed and left alone. Usually six days in, spontaneous fermentation (from indigenous yeasts) takes place, after which they are transferred to barrel for between 16 and 20 months.
No more than 20% new oak is used to preserve the purity of the fruit and the personality of each wine. Interestingly, Jean-Marie uses the carbon dioxide during the wine’s malolactic fermentation to fight oxidation, and has eliminated the need for his wines to be racked. He has recently started a négociant operation, which is very exciting indeed.
Additionally, he was also among the first to wax his bottles. He does this because of dissatisfaction with the consistency of cork density, which caused irregular ageing within vintages. Using a soft wax, the levels of oxygen that enter the bottle are reduced by 80%, and maturation potential is evened out across the vintage - circumventing the variations in cork.
Jean-Marie now has “almost nothing to do in the cellar. The wines make themselves. All my work is in the vineyards and prior to placing the wines into barrel.” This hands-off approach allows him “to put into the bottle all the integrity and complexity of Pinot Noir.”
The true depth of his obsession with terroir was revealed on a trip with us to a game reserve in South Africa. Whilst watching a group of rhinos, he pointed out that they were grazing on one patch of grass and not another. He quickly indicated the importance of terroir, even with Rhinos and grass! It would seem that you can take the wine-maker out of Burgundy, but it’s impossible to take the Burgundy out of the wine-maker.