Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Wine of the Week - The Single-Vineyard Marsannays of Domaine Jean Fournier

This week, we're taking a deep dive into two unique terroirs in the Cote d'Or appellation of Marsannay. When the villages of Burgundy were classified, Marsannay was long ignored, only gaining AOP status in 1987. At that time, it was known for its production of rosé and little else, but in the intervening years, fastidious producers like Domaine Jean Fournier have worked hard to reveal all this special region has to offer.

There are no premier crus in the Marsannay AOP (a status that should be reconsidered), a fact that actually can work in favor of Burgundy fans. Because that 1er Cru designation isn't on the bottle, Marsannay is an appellation that can provide astounding quality for very reasonable prices, a rarity in Burgundy as a whole.

Domaine Jean Fournier is now run by dynamic young Laurent Fournier, son of Jean, who crafts wines with integrity in a non-interventionist style. Old vines can be found throughout his vineyards, contributing to the immense purity and finesse Fournier’s wines are known for. He creates a range of single-vineyard Pinot Noirs from the diverse terroirs of Marsannay and today we're focusing on two of the most prestigious plots of land he owns.

The Es Chezots Lieux-dit is one of the latest-ripening in the region and is known for its cool Comblanchien limestone soils. Laurent's vines are up to 65 years old, setting the stage for gracefulness and and finesse with an appealing fruit profile and tannins that can support years of aging. The 2016 vintage was heralded by Neal Martin, who writes:
"...it offers black cherry and chalk aromas but this remains pretty tight-lipped. The palate is medium-bodied with succulent ripe red cherry and cranberry fruit, the tannins here a little edgy and angular, leading to a chalky-textured but quite persistent finish. Very fine."
The Clos du Roi on the other hand always brings a lively freshness to its wine. Bold red fruit and a hint of smoke are characteristics of wines from this vineyard, which has limestone-dominant soils and sits on an easterly-facing hill. According to Martin:
"The palate is medium-bodied with succulent ripe tannin, a nice touch of bitter cherry to counter that ripe, lush red berry fruit with a tang of cracked black pepper towards the finish. Great potential."

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