2003 Fourrier - Pinot Noir

Posted by CrushWine

What do you get when you cross old-vine Pinot Noir with an innovative, traditional estate and a vintage with drought-like weather conditions? Some of the world's most exciting red Burgundies!

Before 1994, the Fourrier estate produced wines of agreeable quality. Now, under the leadership of young winemaker Jean-Marie Fourrier, the Domaine has a distinctive style that places it near the top of the Gevrey-Chambertin hierarchy with the likes of Rousseau and Mortet.

Like many great Burgundy producers, Fourrier has strong winemaking beliefs based on minimum intervention and a harsh selection process that includes selling fruit from younger vines to other winemakers so only his best grapes make it into bottles with his name on them.

The result is Chambolle-like elegance combined with vivid red-fruit notes and penetrating minerality.

Fourrier's 2003s are focused, pure, ripe and - most important - can be drunk early. But due to the extreme weather conditions in 2003, there is very little wine available — production that year was cut by as much as 70 percent.

How Old-School is Fourrier?

Some of his techniques and philosophies are so old fashioned that he's practically a pioneer for his generation. He uses oak with a light hand to enhance rather than smother the wine. In fact, all his wines, including grand crus, spend, at most, 20 percent of their time in new oak.

After fermentation, most producers move the wine off its lees (dead yeast cells) in a process called racking. Since racking allows the wine to see some oxygen, winemakers add sulfites to help preserve the freshness of the wine.

Rather than adding sulfites throughout the winemaking process, Fourrier allows the build-up of carbon dioxide from fermentation to protect the wine. He does not rack until just before bottling; then he adds a small amount of preserving sulfur dioxide.

Why use such a risky and controversial technique? He believes that the least amount of preservatives added will best protect the integrity of both the wine and the terroir they aim to express.