It's no secret that over the last decade Jean-Marie Fourrier has catapulted his family's domaine into elite status within Burgundy. Fourrier is the 5th generation to lead this 9-hectare Gevrey Chambertin estate, officially taking over for his father in 1994 after interning with the mythical Henri Jayer.
Today, I'm happy to offer the Domaine Fourrier lineup, highlighted by the 2017 vintage.
The wines of Fourrier are most associated in my mind for their silken texture with ripe and vivid fruit. They also are lauded for their ability to drink great at all stages of development. But, above all, it's a sense of purity and site reflection that have put them atop the wishlist of every traditional Burgundy collector.
2017 is a red vintage in Burgundy that will show a ton of accessibility and charm in the near term, with softer tannins and more open-knit fruit than we saw in 2015 & 2016. Structurally, the wines share a profile with the 2007 vintage, but the quality of fruit at harvest is much more sound with no signs of the herbal elements that kept that vintage from entering a more elite category. 2017, unlike 2015 & 2016 is a vintage where terroir shines through first and foremost, as opposed to being marked by the aforementioned vintages' intensely robust and dark fruit profile. Generally speaking, the 2017's veer more into the red fruit register.
Jean-Marie is most noted for his strict reliance on using only old vines for domaine bottlings - averaging 60 years according to my visit in November 2012. The maximum new oak employed is 20%, and like Jayer grapes here are overwhelmingly de-stemmed.
Much of the magic to the wines' purity has to be tied into Jean-Marie's practice of using very minimal amounts of sulphur, instead relying on dissolved CO2 to remain in the wine protecting against oxidation. Because of this it's recommended that younger bottles are double decanted to help "blow-off" any slight effervescence that might remain.
Huber Lignier is best known for his iconic Grand Cru, Clos de la Roche, as well as for his extended macerations and long barrel aging. Today, I'm happy to offer a range of Lignier from 2011 through 2016. The concentration and intensity of the 2016 vintage particularly suits the domaine's winemaking protocol and sets up this stable to again reflect the long-distance runner that has enamored collectors for forty years.
Lignier has been imported by Neal Rosenthal (Barthod, Fourrier, Jacques Carillon) since the 1978 vintage, marking one of Neal's earliest and greatest successes. The style of the domaine has always been one that emphasized structure and a distinct terroir-driven soil expression. Located in Morey Saint Denis, Lignier's wines all display that gorgeous rusted earth, black cherry, and hoisin note that the village is often associated.
2016 follows the dark-fruited and robust 2015 vintage. At first, 2016 appeared to be considerably brighter, but as the wines evolved in barrel they gained a darker profile and richness. They still show a more lifted style as compared to 2015, but in the end these are also going to be wines with very long aging potential. They are deeply complex, arguably a bit more site-specific in profile than the 2015's. They are terrific, but surely the Grand Crus will begin to enter their peak drinking window likely at age 15, and perhaps at age 10 for the Premier Crus.
Each cuvée is unique from the next, and modest levels of new oak keep the focus squarely on site. 20-30% new wood for Villages and Premiers, 50% for the Grand Crus. All grapes are destemmed, receive a 5-day cold soak, and then a relatively long fermentation of 15-20 days. The Villages wines are raised in barrel for 18 months, with Premier and Grand Crus receiving a 24-month elévage.
Coming up short on finding back-vintages of Hubert Lignier has always been a thorn in my side. Rarely do collectors part with these aged gems, as the reward with years in bottle is too significant to part with.
The village of Morey Saint Denis in the Côte de Nuits is home to one of the most treasured family estates in Burgundy, Domaine Dujac. Since its founding by Jacques Seysses in 1968 Dujac has become a fixture of 3-star Michelin restaurants around the globe. The signature spice of the Pinot Noirs from the domaine have been catnip for sommeliers and collectors alike for nearly 50 years. Although the wines are among the greatest in the world, the impact the Dujac family has had on a personal level with their customers and apprentices is even greater.
Living in Burgundy throughout 2012 was an incredible experience for me, and the luck I had in being able to work at Domaine Dujac from June through October was a dream realized. Taking part first hand in the attention to detail in the vines, cellar, and cuverie for fermentation put into perfect context why the wines and people here are met with such fanfare. Countless winemakers from the US to Australia have spent time working here since the 70's and it cannot be overstated just how significant the family's impact has been on the world of fine wine production.
Today, Jacques's son Jeremy works alongside his wife Dianna Snowden Seysses, and his brother Alec. The style at Dujac has remained largely the same since it was founded. Today, Jeremy has reduced the new oak influence on the Villages and some Premier Cru wines. The use of whole cluster fermentation here is still very prevalent, with the wines of Gevrey Chambertin generally seeing a little less than those of Morey Saint Denis, Chambolle Musigny, and Vosne Romanée. The haunting spice and silken texture of all the wines is still very much the calling card of this address.
A close look at vintages:
2014 Fleshy, darker-fruited, and approachable.
2013 Vibrant, transparent, and racy.
2012 Great concentration, supple tannins, and plush fruit.
2011 Soft, very approachable, elegant.
2010 High ripeness, high acidity, quintessential balance, a near perfect vintage.
2009 Ripe, fruit-forward, and structured, primed to age wonderfully.
2008 Classic, energetic, supremely terroir-driven.
2005 Incredibly concentrated, ripe, powerful, expected to age effortlessly for decades.
2001 Graceful, nuanced, and delicate with lovely brightness.
1999 Dark, ripe, and very deeply textured, among the best of the last several decades.
1997 Opulent, fruit-forward, very approachable vintage that's turned out fabulously well at Chez Dujac.
Gevrey Chambertin is home to Grand Cru Charmes-Chambertin, the largest of the village. The holdings here encompass several different parcels with different expositions - A true representation of this iron-rich site. There is a power and dark spice here synonymous with Gevrey, with a grace befitting of Grand Cru status.
2014 Dujac Charmes Chambertin
(2013 $289), (2012 $389), (2008 $259)
The Morey Saint Denis Villages holdings are adjacent to the domaine, with Premier Cru vineyards to the north. The fabled Clos de la Roche and Clos Saint Denis are the largest Grand Crus of the domaine, and are benchmark bottlings here. Clos de la Roche is powerful, with dark earth. Clos Saint Denis is more lifted, ethereal, and delicate.
2014 Dujac Morey Saint Denis
(2012 $99), (2005 $199)
2014 Dujac Morey Saint Denis 1er Cru
(2013 $169) , (2012 $199) , (2008 $193)
2014 Dujac Clos de la Roche
(2013 $599), (2010 $799)
2014 Dujac Clos Saint Denis
(2013 $599), (2010 $799), (2010 1.5L $1,799)
Just south in Chambolle Musigny the Grand Cru Bonnes Mares is sourced from vines both in the white and red soil that differentiate the vineyard. Bonnes Mares shows the elegance of Chambolle with a powerful structure that calls to mind a slight Morey influence. The Villages Chambolle Musigny bottling comes from a vineyard with noticeably white and chalky earth, in turn the wine is very fine. The special secret, in my estimation, of the entire domaine is the Premier Cru Les Gruenchers. These are among the oldest vines in any Dujac vineyard. This is the source material for nearly all of the selection massale replanting. There are wines with more power, more length, and greater pedigree, but this is the sexiest wine of the domaine, and in many cases the most rare.
2014 Dujac Chambolle Musigny
2014 Dujac Chambolle Musigny 1er Cru Gruenchers
(2005 $599), (2001 $459)
2014 Dujac Bonnes Mares
(2013 $799), (2012 $999), (2009 $969), (2008 $524), (2001 $699), (1999 $1,089)
Vosne Romanée is home to the most exotic spices of Burgundy. Premier Cru Beaux Monts is all about a marriage between firm structure and a racy personality. Premier Cru Aux Malconsorts is a stunning wine, and Grand Cru quality here in all but name. Malconsorts lies directly south of La Tâche, and shares that same quality of weightless texture and magically long finish. Grand Cru Echezeaux is home to some of the longest rows of the domaine, but working them was a breeze thanks to the exquisite old vines planted on this other-worldly bright red topsoil. Echezeaux really embodies all the silken texture and exotic spice that Vosne is so famous for.
2014 Dujac Vosne Romanée 1er Cru Beaux Monts
(2013 $239), (2012 $279), (2011 $234)
2014 Dujac Vosne Romanée 1er Cru Aux Malconsorts
(2014 1.5L $799), (2013 1.5L $799), (2012 1.5L $999), (2010 $489)
2014 Dujac Echezeaux
Dianna had spent time working with Domaine Leflaive, and she's applied a similar sophistication and regal quality to the highly anticipated debut release of the domaine-farmed wines in Puligny Montrachet. The old Chardonnay vines of Premier Cru Combettes are located in perfect mid-slope exposition. Having 2014 as a premier vintage for a White Burgundy is quite the blessing!
2014 Dujac Puligny Montrachet 1er Cru Les Combettes
Dianna Snowden Seysses also has a family estate in the Napa Valley. And here she returns each fall after Dujac harvest to produce Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot from her family's vineyards. The wines here show the same elegance that Dujac wines have been so beloved for. It's rare for us to find wines in Napa that show such a light touch and thoughtful approach. It shouldn't come as a surprise with Dianna's background that her sensibilities here lean toward the more traditional and nuanced side of the Napa Valley spectrum.
2014 Snowden "The Ranch" Cabernet Sauvignon
2014 Snowden "Brothers Vineyard" Cabernet Sauvignon
2012 Snowden "Lost Vineyard" Napa Valley Merlot