Tuesday, December 18, 2012

A wine might change less than a winemaker

A friend was nice enough to open up this bottle of Fourrier recently, and of course I'm always happy to drink Fourrier, so that was a happy circumstance. And indeed, this was Clos St. Jacques, maybe one of the top premier crus to be found in all of the Cote de Nuits, and in this instance from vines planted around 100 years previously.

But what was particularly cool about this opportunity was that this was a 1995, which meant that not only was this a wine with a bit of age on it, it was also from near the beginning of Jean-Marie Fourrier's time at the family domaine. Jean-Marie, who helms Fourrier today, started working with the wines in 1994.

It was so interesting to see how a Jean-Marie Fourrier wine has developed, and also to see how his own winemaking style has evolved from what it was. Because this was a wonderful wine, but it tasted perhaps a bit more conventional than I might associate with Fourrier today. I got the same character of fruit that I might get from this same site and producer in a current release, but the handling was different. There seemed to be clearly defined edges, and more broad, burnished fruit than one might expect from the light touch of Fourrier today. It was as if Pousse d'Or had gone a bit north for a moment and made a wine from Clos St Jacques. There wasn't the disolved CO2 spritz, or the low sulphur directness to the flavors.

One of the hallmarks of a Fourrier wine today is how the fruit can hit the palate. It is for me the same as when very cold water is poured over my hand. There is a sting. Not a burning, warm, broad feeling, but instead a surprise that wakes me up. The fruit is like that on a Fourrier from, say, 2008. The pulse of my palate moves faster when I taste it. I am paying attention. If before I was watching from a distance, now I am close up.

The 1995 was excellent, but it was produced by a Burgundian. Later on he would produce wines as Jean-Marie Fourrier.

1 comment:

What We Drank said...

I am happy to read this and I have a special affinity for 1995 because I was no longer one person. It is the year I became two people. I think as JM grew he focused more on nuance, aromatics. His wines became more subtle, delicate and tender. Thanks for this insight and for sharing a good wine from the birth year of my son.