Tasted with Eric Forest, 23 June 2021 in Vergisson
Eric on 2021:
2 days before I visited Eric, Solutre & Pouilly were badly hit by hail causing a lot of damage to the leaves and to what grapes that were left after the frost. “Here in Vergisson we were lucky not to be touched by the hail but we had already lost about 80% to the frost so…”
Eric on 2020:
“Fortunately, we had a decent yield – we averaged 45 hl/ha – except my old vine Clos des Charmes. A hot year of course, and with quite some dryness, but less dry than in 2019. This made the difference as there was some water resource for the vines – mid-June we had about 20mm of rain in 2 doses. The flowering was very early, the end of May, but took two weeks to complete – I don’t know why, as the weather was good but perhaps it was just a little too warm. This flowering brought some clusters with ripe fruit and others with less ripe fruit at the harvesting time – so it was hard to choose which day to pick. I chose to wait so some were a little over-ripe but the rest were properly ripe. I still think we have good acidity – it could be a great vintage – certainly, there won’t be much 2021 to compete with it! I’ll keep half of my production back so that I have something to sell when there are no 2021s…”
Eric on 2019:
“About 40% lower in volume – we had virtually no water over the winter. On the other hand, we may have been lucky that the volume of grapes was low, because due to the lack of rain I don’t think the vines could have properly matured a larger number of grapes. I started bottling in October and finished in mid-March. It was my 20th harvest, so I decided to modify my label design as an anniversary present to myself!”
Really a great range from Eric in 2019 – perhaps I picked out more ‘great’ wines in 2018 but you will find some of those here in 2019 too!
2019 St.Veran La Renommée
From the climat Côte Rôtie; bottom of the hill, plain south facing. ‘There is more ‘active’ limestone here than most of the Mâconnais’
A depth of ripe fruit, but with a citrus freshness. Hmm – here is concentration but with an insinuating, mouth-watering, growing intensity. A calm wine but very tasty wine. Vibrant finishing, mineral, saline and generous and long. 14.5° though you won’t notice…
2019 Pouilly-Fuissé ‘Ame Forest’
The cuvée referring to André, Michel and Eric. 4 different old-vine terroirs assembled: one planted in 1952 the others in 1960s. East and north-facing – ‘in theory cooler places though you wouldn’t know in the last few years. In 2007 I was separating every single parcel but I had wines everywhere and it was not easy to commercialise the small parcels, so I made this blend.’
Deeper, more stony nose, the freshness modest but visible Sits very well in the mouth – wine, nicely transparent, insistent, a stony vibrance. The flavour mounting in a finishing succulence. Fading but holding well. That’s a wine with a fine clarity.
2019 Mâcon-Pierreclos Le Clos des Charmes
1.5 ha monopole, 60% of the vines are over 90 years old, 30% from 1992 and 10% replanted in the last 2 years. A steep, plain-south-facing and the soil is hard with marne and clay but the limestone rock is very near the surface. 10.5 hl/ha – but it was frosted in 2019. Have double the yield in 2020… ‘It was conventionally treated for at least 25 years so very difficult to start the working of the soil – I have great hopes for this.’
That’s an attractive nose, almost a faint grain of complexity and a clear base of minerality. Very silky, a vibrancy of flavour too. A phenolic lick of tannin but not dry, insinuating intensity – this is really excellent wine and so vibrant finishing too – that’s a properly great finish.
2019 Saint-Véran Terre Noir
Second vintage for this wine, ‘my first was a little opulent but I think more my style in 2019.’ The average age of the vines is 85, and now into the 4th year at the domaine. 70-80cm of soil then only white stones…
A more open and easier freshness. Hmm, I like the depth here, there’s something a little extra in the flavour too, almost a riesling impression but no petrol accent. This holds a fine finish and is, once more, completely excellent…
‘There are 9.5 hectares of this and I have 2.16 of this future 1er cru.’ Plain south-facing under Vergission which also protects the vines from the north wind. Different marnes, gravel, different layers. 10-20% of this is ‘declassified’ into the AME cuvée
Wilder, a more chalky width of aroma slowly becoming calmer. More direct, beautiful over the palate – a clarity and minerality to this wine. Structural but never hard – I love the shape and how it plays over the tongue. Not the most powerful finish but very long all the same. Bravo!
This a big terroir of over 22 ha; 17 below the road and 5 above – the higher part – where these vines lie is not a 1er cru.
Airy but also with depth – very attractive – tajin spice and agrume. More insistent and more forward minerality here. I like the impact and the texture too – a different shape but similar components to the last. Another great 2019 – here with extra intensity in the finish versus the Crays
2019 Petite Arvine Fully Les Raffos
Here’s a wine that starts with a compact nose but quickly widens even suggesting a little aniseed and a more acidulated fruit – ‘yes, we’ve more acidity in this.’ The palate, also discreet in entry, widens and widens to offer an impressive panorama of flavour. A wine that in shape could come from here but is, somehow, different. The language is the same but the movement and shape are not. Completely delicious and a great wine to serve blind…