Domaine Fourrier   Griottes Chambertin Grand Cru

2012 Griottes Chambertin Grand Cru

By Domaine Fourrier

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The 2012 Griotte-Chambertin Grand Cru comes from 0.26-hectares of vines planted in 1928. It is initially broody on the nose; sulky and withdrawn, biding its time as it opens in the glass, eventually revealing candied orange peel, raspberry, wild strawberry and just a hint of fresh apricots. The palate is medium-bodied with fine structure thanks to the tensile tannins. There is a wonderful sense of symmetry here with a gradual build towards the powerful finish. Yet overall, this is a nonchalant and self-effacing Griotte-Chambertin that is happy in its own skin. Since yours truly screwed up his timetable and arrived promptly on the right time, the right day but the wrong week at Domaine Fourrier, it was the delightful Vicky Fourrier, Jean-Marie’s so-called “better half”, who escorted me around the 2012s. As I have written before, this address has a strong following in the UK and Europe, now also in the United States, although the exports consume such a percentage of production than Fourrier is perversely unknown in his home country. Jean-Marie’s wines have a loyal following for a reason: the quality of the wines. That comes from their treasure trove of old vine material, which is replaced through massal selection rather than clones, and Jean-Marie’s meticulous craftsmanship. “It was very warm in March, which got everything going quickly,” Vicky told me as we began tasting the 2012s directly from stainless steel vats. “Spring was cold which gave us coulure and so we already had some vines with no grapes. May was almost like summer, and then at flowering it was cold and wet, which caused millerandage that affected the old vines. But from then on, there was a high pressure of mildew and oidium, so you had to be spot on in the vineyard. But from end August it was sunny and the berries were far apart so there was no rot. There was nothing to do on the sorting table. But there were just tiny quantities, so much so that Jean-Claude, Jean-Marie’s father, was in tears as the crop came in from 21 September. We completed the harvest in 4½ days instead of seven and so we are about 50-60% down in production. For us, the malo-lactic fermentations were quite short this year and they were all finished by the end of June. The wines will be bottled mid-December.” This year, all cuvees have been raised in 20% new oak. As usual and as I expected, this was an impressive set of 2012s that followed the leitmotifs of the vintage, honing in on finesse rather than power. These were pure, feminine and dare I say, damn drinkable wines, many of which I could have eloped with there and then. These will be drinking earlier than say the 2010s from Jean-Marie Fourrier, but I suspect that they are deceptively long lived. Importer: Rosenthal Wine Merchant, Pine Plains, NY; tel. (800) 910-1990

Neal Martin - The Wine Advocate, 29 December 2013

Vintage performance