Today’s Story: Domaine Fourrier
Domaine Fourrier is a family wine estate located in Gevrey-Chambertin of Burgundy’s Côte de Nuits. Previously named Pernot-Fourrier, the domain was established by Fernand Pernot during the 1930s/1940s who, since he had no spouse or children, brought in his nephew Jean-Claude Fourrier for help. Jean-Claude took over the domain in 1969 and Fourrier was one of the first in the region to export their wines to the US. Coupled with very highly-regarded land holdings, Fourrier commanded a great reputation and the wines were very high-quality. During the late 1980s, however, Fourrier went through a “dumb phase” of sorts until being rejuvenated by Jean-Claude’s son, Jean-Marie Fourrier, who took over in 1994. Jean-Marie was a pupil of the great Henri Jayer, and brought Domaine Fourrier to preeminent status with wines of elegance and finesse not often found in Gevrey-Chambertin. Jean-Marie remains at the helm today alongside his wife Vicki and sister Isabelle.
Domaine Fourrier consists of about 9 hectares (22 acres) of vineyards planted predominantly in Gevrey-Chambertin, augmented by small plots in Chambolle-Musigny, Morey-Saint-Denis, and Vougeot. Fourrier’s vines typically fall in the 50 to 70 year-old average range, and only their own cuttings are used to replace failing or dying vines. With a strict belief that vines need lengthy periods to fully grow and mature, Jean-Marie never produces wines from his vines aged younger than 30 years and instead sells this fruit to négociants in the region. With his belief that terroir is of utmost importance, Jean-Marie farms his vineyards without the addition of chemical fertilizers and only uses herbicides or pesticides when absolutely necessary if the vines or harvest are in danger.
Come harvest, fruit is hand-picked and sorted in the vineyard before being transferred into small baskets to take to the winery. Jean-Marie’s winemaking philosophy is minimal intervention, and the wines ferment separately by vineyard using only native yeasts and no sulfur additions. Fourrier’s wines age with minimal amounts of new oak (typically no more than 20%) to preserve the delicacy of the aromas and flavors, and remain in contact with their lees for anywhere from 16-20 months depending on vintage and bottling. All the wines are bottled unfined and unfiltered, with minimal or no SO2 added. Taking from his training with Henri Jayer, Jean-Marie aims to make all of his wines the truest sense of terroir possible while offering an elegance and balance that are often unmatched.
Today’s Wine: 2016 Gevrey-Chambertin Aux Echezeaux Vieille Vigne
100% Pinot Noir; 13% ABV
The 2016 Gevrey-Chambertin Aux Echezeaux is pale to medium ruby in color. This requires a good 45 minutes to an hour to open up in the glass due to its youth, but once it does this is already a gorgeous wine. The aromas are of medium (+) intensity, with the nose showcasing notes of black cherry, strawberry, leather, forest floor, savory green herbs, and gravel. The flavors are also of medium (+) intensity, and the palate displays notes of tart cherry, strawberry, black raspberry, tobacco, leather, charred herbs, and peppery spice. This dry red Burgundy is medium-bodied with medium (+) acidity, medium (-) tannins, medium alcohol, and a medium (+) length finish. While already very elegant and enjoyable, this has decades of life ahead of it.
Price: $110. This is very reasonably priced in my opinion given a red Burgundy of this quality level. Burgundy prices have gone to sky-high levels over the years, and finding one around this price-point especially from a producer like Fourrier makes for an easy decision.