Tasted in Marsannay with Laurent Fournier, 28 April, 2014.
Domaine Jean FOURNIER
29, rue du Château
+33 3 80 52 24 38+33 3 80 52 24 38
Here is a family domaine with roots that can be traced back to the 17th century. It was Laurent Fournier’s father, Jean, who decided to move away from ‘polyculture’ in 1961 and to concentrate on the family vines. There was already a version of lutte raisonée being used during the 1980s, the domaine has been Bio since 2004 (certified in 2008) – “but we are not Bio-Extremists” says Laurent with a smile. There has also been plenty of replanting in the last years, “Bad vines are bad vines”, says Laurent, so they have a programme of replacing with massale selections.
There were already 40-60k bottles being commercialised about 2001 from 14 hectares, the rest going to the négoce. Today the domaine has 16 hectares and has the objective of commercialising everything. Two-thirds of the produce is exported. In addition there is also about three hectares of négoce wine made here for villages Marsannay. “There is 0.5ha of Côte de Nuits Villages and another 0.5ha of Gevrey, but otherwise we are a Marsannay domaine” says Laurent – “Oh, and a little Fixin too!”
At harvest time, everything is picked and placed in smaller 10kg cases, before running along the domaine’s triage table. There are always a few whole clusters in the fermentations, but the amount varies from year-to-year depending on the quality. There is a little cool maceration before the fermentation, as much because this is a practical approach as for the technical benefits of the technique.
Laurent on 2012:
“The hail was relatively early here in Marsannay, so it didn’t compromise the quality of the vintage at all, only the quantity!”
The following wines are brilliant. This is a rare address where I love the Marsannay Rosé and white too. Certainly wines on a par with, and sometimes bettering those of illustrious Marsannay neighbours, such as Bruno Clair and Sylvain Pataille!
The name St.Urban refers to the small tower behind the domaine. 20% whole-clusters used here, with elevage in 600 litre barrels – not much new oak – the last three months of elevage in tank.
A heady, deep scent that’s almost textured. In the mouth it is round but detailed and fresh, the flavour grows and grows. Fine acidity and lovely definition. What a super first wine!
‘It’s complicated here’ says Laurent, ‘The fruit is always ripe here, but not always the tannin!’ There are a little more whole clusters in the fermentation and 25% new oak.
The nose has depth and a faint whole-cluster note – but lovely, almost textured, dark fruit too. Fresher, more intense, the flavour continues to grow. Super! There’s a hint of oak flavour but this is long, long in the finish. Very impressive Fixin!
Faint reduction and a little more whole-cluster character. Fresh, lithe, ‘live!’ There’s a growing fresh intensity against a dark-fruit profile. There’s just a little oak texture but the tannins are very fine. Despite the intensity, this really is a wine of finesse. Very, very good!
The vines in this plot date from 1947 and 1948. This is one of the earliest-ripening plots of the domaine – it flowers here 1 week before Gevrey. Each year, a fair proportion of the grapes are lost to wild boar because there is no hunting allowed here. This wine is almost two-thirds whole-cluster fermented.
The nose is wide, with a little smoke, a little reduction and a growing freshness and complexity – faint stems and bright flashes of fruit. I find real weight of extract in the mid-palate and a length that defies the label. Brilliant.
2012 Marsannay Clos du Roy
Bottled in mid-March.
A faint reduction on the nose, but it is gone in seconds, leaving faint herbs and focused bright berries. Full a nd round, but not fat. Velvet tannin. This is muscular and lean with some drag to the tannin but little obvious grain. Impressive length.
2012 Marsannay Longeroies
Aromatically this is very similar to the Clos du Roy – though with a little less impact. In the mouth this is more supple and giving – a little rounder too – though only a little, it’s still muscled and lean. Fine, more obvious fruit flavour in the finish. Very good length again – very nice!
A cool plot, always later to harvest – ‘but always good grapes.’ About 10-15% whole clusters used here, all in the bottom of the fermentation tank.
Very fine, crystalline dark fruit that’s also faintly floral. Wonderful in the mouth – a real extra dimension of flavour from similar intensity. Just a hint of fat to the texture – this is very long and very, very impressive. The nose has eventually another, more mineral, dimension. Excellent!
The vines here were planted between 1936 and 1939 – they always deliver millerande bunches. Three-quarters of the whole-clusters were retained in the fermentation.
Deeply coloured. Dark fruit on the round nose, some whole-cluster aromatic but it’s nicely fresh too. There’s fresh, mouth-watering flavour and a growing intensity. Some minerality and a faint tannin drag to the texture. Super length, simply a brilliant wine!
2012 Marsannay Trois Terres
Vines for the 1930s and 1940s, all from mid-slope Marsannay plots. +005 new oak used here, but always in 600 litre barrels.
The nose has the reddest fruit profile yet – wider, less intense and faintly spiced. In the mouth this has a lithe, cool freshness that’s mouth-watering and with a very modest astringency. There’s real energy here. Faint oak flavour in the finish that will quickly fade. Slowly the nose takes on more focus. Super.
2012 Marsannay Petite Grumette
Laurent describes this as a ‘micro-cuvée.’
Fresh dark fruit – it’s as welcoming as it is focused. Oof! Clean, fresh, intense fruit in the mouth – truly super energy and presence. The flavour fades too quickly – but only 90%, the other 10% really lingers…
2012 Marsannay Pui Pots
Dark, dark fruit on the nose but with freshness and violet flowers – lovely. In the mouth this is cool, dynamic, fresh and displays a growing intensity over a faint base of tannin. Super extra mid-palate fruit and minerality. Wide in the finish, and it’s a long finish too.
2012 Marsannay St.Urban Blanc
A mix of vines here, including some young-vine Longeroies and a little pinot blanc. Raised in 600 litre barrels – ‘we do the SO2 as late as possible here.’
The nose is wide and shows some density of fruit at the core. Nice flavour and very good acidity. I’m not usually a fan of Marsannay blanc – but I’ll make an exception here!
2012 Marsannay Longeroies Blanc
No pinot blanc here, and relatively young vines too, but planted at a density of 13k per hectare.
Fresh, slightly mineral nose. Good texture and freshness coupled to very nice flavour and length too.
Here the vines range from 20-40 years old.
The nose is very pretty, fresh and detailed – and has some power too. This is like a mineral Meursault character; there is some power, but much more importantly there is fine and interesting flavour. A few citrus aspects too. Super!