Domaine Fourrier produces some of the most sought after wines from Burgundy, specifically Gevrey-Chambertain. Under the control of Jean-Marie Fourrier (who hosted the tasting at The Sampler) the Domaine focuses on minimal intervention wine making. Fertilisers, pesticides, thinning agents and peroxides are kept to an absolute minimum or not used at all.
Not only are these wines some of my favourites, especially the Clos St Jacques, Jean Marie is one of the most interesting and informative wine makers I have met. He appears to be an absolute purist, repeating several times he doesn’t make wines for scoring he makes wines that he likes to drink (don’t they all say that? I’m not sure, maybe I just believed him more). Jean Marie talked a great deal more about biology in growing the fruit and less about the processes involved in actual wine making.
Another interesting topic discussed on the night was the process of cork production. The colour of natural cork is brown, however many of the corks we pull out of bottles are almost white. This is because peroxides are used to bleach corks for a cleaner appearance. Jean Marie explained that a cork is squeezed right before it is inserted into a bottle thus remnants of any chemical in the cork may leak into the wine. Interesting stuff.
Onto the wines. The first half of the tasting included wines from 5 vineyards in Gevrey-Chambertin and 1 from Chambolle-Musigny, all from older vintages.
Gevery-Chambertin 1er Cru Les Champeaux 1997
Gevery-Chambertin 1er Cru Les Goulots 1997
Gevery-Chambertin 1er Cru Combe aux Moines 1997
Gevery-Chambertin 1er Cru Les Cherbaudes 1999
Chambolle-Musigny 1er Cru Les Gruenchers 1999
Gevery-Chambertin 1er Cru Clos St Jacques 2004
Wow, what a selection of wines hey? The first thing that got me about the ’97’s was their acidity and youthfulness. They are fantastic big and balanced Gevrey’s showing typical burgundy red fruit, dark cherries and a woodiness which was also quite earthy. My favourite was the 1er Cru Combe aux Moines 1997.
It was great to try a Chambolle-Musigny next to a Gevrey. Typically Chambolle’s are more floral and not as big in style. This held true in the Les Gruenchers. I found the fragrance really open up in the Chambolle towards the end of the night.
Clos St Jacques is a premier cru vineyard and stated by Janis Robinson to be “always regarded as a Grand Cru in all but name”. The site is 6.7 h having 5 owners with each lot running from the top to the bottom of the slope.
2004 wasn’t the greatest of years in Burgundy however this Fourrier Clos St Jacques is wonderful. If anything I would like to try it in 5 years time.
The second half of the tasting included 4 wines from the same vineyards (excluding the Les Champeaux and Combe aux Moines) all in the 2009 vintage.
Gevery-Chambertin 1er Cru Les Goulots 2009
Gevery-Chambertin 1er Cru Les Cherbaudes 2009
Chambolle-Musigny 1er Cru Les Gruenchers 2009
Gevery-Chambertin 1er Cru Clos St Jacques 2009
Excluding the Chambolle these were much more similar in style with less time to develop in the bottle. The 2009 burgundy vintage is considered to be very good, maybe not quite as good as 2005. Would really like to try these ’09’s with a bit more age.