Gevrey-Chambertin “Combe Aux Moines”
1er Cru Red barrel
Tasted: Jan 15, 2018
Note: from .87 ha parcel planted in 1928
Producer note: Jean-Marie Fourrier told me that 2016 threw a “decidedly challenging growing season at us. I don’t know if you can say that we were lucky but I starting plowing our vines on the 20th of April and when the frost hit seven days later, the vineyards that I had plowed better resisted it. Losses were highly disparate as we lost 60% in Chambolle, Gevrey was off between 25 and 30% yet Morey was essentially untouched. The spring though was basically lousy and it provoked a vicious attack of mildew. Just to provide some perspective, a typical season has 7 to 8 incidences of mildew yet there were 32 in 2016! Worse still, it was so wet that we couldn’t get equipment into the vines so we had to treat manually with tanks loaded on our backs. Ultimately the spring closely resembled that of 2013 but with frost. The summer though was much better, in fact in a sense it was too hot as we did have some sunburned fruit though thankfully it was limited. We picked quickly from the 27th of September to the first of October and the fruit was pretty much spotless. Potential alcohols were quite good at between 13 and 13.5% with plenty of shot berries which of course helps to add concentration. Acidities were perfectly good but not as high as you might think given the lateness of the harvest. There wasn’t necessarily a lot of malic acid but given how cold the winter of 2016-2017 was the malos were slow to finish. The post-malo pHs were on average about 3.6 with total acidities that were about the same. As to the wines, they’re wonderfully fresh and bright and so delicious that I suspect people will have difficulty leaving them alone as they should drink well immediately.” I have long been an admirer of the Fourrier wines and particularly so for their purity of expression and overall quality. As such I confess to being somewhat surprised by the level of wood on some of the 2016s. While there certainly appears to be sufficient underlying material to successfully integrate it over time, the style is a bit of a departure from what I’m used to seeing. To be sure I have had days in Burgundy where the wood just seems more apparent at every domaine and perhaps that’s what happened here. See also the Jean-Marie Fourrier négociant wines immediately below. (Rosenthal Wine Merchant, www.madrose.com, NY, USA; there are many sources in the UK including A&B Vintners, www.abvintners.co.uk, John Armit Wines, www.armit.co.uk, Goedhuis & Co., www.goedhuis.com, Howard Ripley, www.howardripley.com, Uncorked Ltd, www.uncorked.co.uk, and Seckford Wines, www.seckfordwines.co.uk; Pearl of Burgundy, www.pearlofburgundy.com, Hong Kong).
Tasting note: Moderate amounts of wood and menthol characters serve as a less than neutral backdrop for the earth and sauvage-inflected dark pinot fruit-suffused nose. The supple, round and unusually forward flavors possess a seductive mouthfeel though the finish immediately tightens up which suggests that this will need the better part of a decade to reach its apogee.