I find it hard to open Fourrier’s bottles now – mainly it’s due to the capsules – or lack of capsules. Since the 2005 vintage the domaine has topped their bottles with shiny red wax, and that offers me two problems: one, the wax looks much too pretty to break; and two, wax normally shatters and makes a terrible mess!
Maybe Jean-Marie has a new formulation or the 24° of my kitchen had a softening effect, but a knife easily removed the layer covering the cork – and no shattering, no mess!
2005 Fourrier, Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Les Goulots
Medium, medium-plus colour – not that deeply coloured for a 1er cru from this vintage. The nose starts with a characteristic note that makes you think of oak, but as I’ve slowly learned with Fourrier’s wines, it’s more about reduction, as it fades, in this case, in about 30 minutes without decanting. Slightly heavy and powdery fruit morphs to beautiful red berry notes over cherry – primary but very, very pretty – more time will give a pretty creme-brulee background. In the mouth this is soft and rather silky – you will only find the tannin with serious rolling around the mouth. There is decent density of dark fruit that slowly melts and becomes redder as the nose also develops. It’s slowly lingering on slightly emphasised acidity. Versus the impact of virtually every 2005 villages and higher Gevrey tasted in 2008, this is more mellow and understated – what a difference a year makes – there’s a little iron and minerals, but in particular this misses out on the ‘I’ word – impact. The style of Fourrier still makes this eminently drinkable, but I expect it was all the more impressive 12 months ago. Time for a long sleep…
Rebuy – Yes
PS As an after-thought, I often think that Jean-Marie Fourrier should have been born in Chambolle, the style of his wines are more ‘poster-child(ren)’ for that village. For Gevrey I’m often looking for that slightly harder edge – perhaps a hint of danger – but, good as the wines are, you don’t find it at this address.
There are 11 responses to “2005 fourrier gevrey 1er les goulots”
You could try just putting a corkscrew straight through the wax, Bill. I find this usually works perfectly well.
He started using wax to increase longevity, but I’m assured by scientific types that wax is not airtight anyway.
@Tom Blach – Of-course, that’s when the real mess starts Tom. Also with older bottles I’ve seen my cork-screw just rip up the centre of the cork without budging it, it may have happened without the wax too, but I’ve gradually come to like wax only to look at!
I would, I suppose, class myself as ‘a scientific type’, but wax it outside my area of ‘expertise’. Interesting that Fourrier’s wax is all-enveloping, no tiny pierced holes in the top – most other wax seals have three tiny piercings in the top like many capsules – I’ve never really found out why…
Jean Marie goes to quite a degree of trouble with the using of wax. I was amazed to learn that on a good day, they can only wax seal 1000 bottles. That makes for a lot of manual work! Jean Marie is a very thoughtful and scientifically minded guy, he’s convinced that the wax seal aids the wine’s evolution.
He also changed his cork supplier recently, to a small operation in Corse.
I visited recently, my impressions follow: http://www.wineatthetable.com/2009/04/16/The-superb-2007s-of-domaine-Fourrier.html
did he mention why or how he thought this aided in the evolution of the wine?
Bill, I’ve seen a bunch of people cut themselves trying to figure out the best way to open wax capped bottles. They look great, but they can be a pain. I just pull the bouchon out through the top as if it was a regular capsule.
But Ray, I remove ‘regular capsules’ first 🙂
Bill, how very sophisticated. 🙂 Have you any thoughts on wax capsules and aging? I always heard that the interchange of oxygen with a cork produced a beneficial aspect to aging.
Despite the sophistry, isn’t the interchange of oxygen synonymous with oxidation? Or is that just an oxymoron?
For the rest of us morons, we make a supreme mess of the little red bits while hacking away at the wax, cursing this protonew technology as some watery excuse for the new prices.
Besides, the new labels aren’t as cool as the old ones.
As a very non scientific type I really find cork and wax to be the best closure for all wine destined for bottle age in the cellar – neatly dug into what seems to be a flat earth.
I have always assumed that cork allowed a controlled ingress of oxygen, and that that was part of the ‘aging’ process – so yes, oxidation at a certain rate – certainly something goes the other way through cork and capsule as levels slowly decline over years. Glass 100% seals have been available for many years, I assume that there’s a reason why people have not flocked to them, like no aging or discussions about reduction à la screwcap…
Is wax better than a standard capsule? I have no data to support either a yes or a no.
As I recall it, Jean Marie prefers to use the wax seal for the same reasons others, like Leroy, do:
1) It looks great
2) It offers some production in low humidity environments for short periods
3) It could help guard a wine if the cork has made a less than perfect seal
4) It protects the cork from the surrounding elements
This plays into current theories about cork and oxygen ingress. The felling I get from research is that all the oxygen which aids the development of the wine comes from the cork itself — remember, cork is full of air, that’s why it is so light. As the wine slowly works its way into the closure and as the internal pressure of the cork reduces, the air caught in the cell structure of the wine has to go some where, and some of it makes its way into the wine bottle itself.
A standard capsule only does (1) and (4) from the above list. There must be more to it than that though because it’s a significant hassle. A lot of produces who bottle with little free sulfur in France seal with wax and swear by it as an aid to the wine’s longevity.
I would guess that the wax seal offers the cork and wine somewhat better protection than a capsule.
A capsule isn’t air tight at all, so if the cork is less than perfect, the wax allows only the air in the cork to slowly oxidize the wine ensuring a consistently slow rate of maturation. With pin holes in the wax, perhaps the rate is more controllable and consistent.
Anyway, I’m with Bill: I make a mess of the things but as usual at a much lower level: The 05 Clos Sorbe I had was delightful: light, clear strawberry wings with tang. Not complex, as expected for such a young thang, but at least not [i]too[/i] outrageous in the $ department.
I hear you about the mess, and have also had some issues, good and bad, about wax. I agree it can be an enormous mess. But it can also be easy, as you saw with this Fourrier bottle. I agree with you that trying to go straight through the wax is risky, asides from being uncooth, and courting disaster, especially with an old vintage.
I think it has to do with wax age. As the wax ages, it becomes rock hard. I initially thought that chipping away with the back of a solid butcher’s knife was the best method. I have recently found that heating the said butcher’s knife works well to slice through both old and new wax. I like the look of the wax top and think it is great that we are seeing it used a bit more (Nicolas Potel for instance). I do fear, however, that new wax on an old bottle could be an attempt at trickery, unless proper documentation is also provided.