The Fourrey family domaine covers 20 hectares in Burgundy, 18 of those in Chablis, with holdings in the Premier Crus of Mont de Milieu, Beauroy, Côte de Lechet, Vaillons, Fourchaume and Les Fourneaux, as well as the Grand Cru Vaudésir. Fourth generation Jean-luc Fourrey has been in charge since 1992, and in that time has been refining the operation, particularly in respect of their vineyards and farming methods. His sister, Marie-José, manages the commercial business.
Management of yields has been a primary focus, with pruning adapted to each site’s vigour and character, new plantings are more dense than previously, grasses now grow between rows to provide competition to the vines and use of fertilisers and herbicides has been controlled and limited to conserve micro-organisms essential for soil health. By controlling vigour in this way, Jean-Luc has been able to reduce spraying treatments against rot and mildew, and the vines are acheiving optimal ripeness plot by plot.
In many ways these are very traditional wines from Chablis, with no oak barrels used for fermentation or maturation of the wines, though they do spend some time on the lees to add texture and richness. Otherwise, this is a domaine that appears to be very non-interventionist in its winemaking, aimed at expressing their terroir, and that of the individual vineyards in the case of their Premier and Grand Cru wines.
UK importer is Cadman Fine Wines, who sent me three of the Domaines 2017 Premier Cru wines to try for myself:
(2020) Another delightful Premier Cru from Domaine Fourrey, this from the Côte de Léchet is in a creamier, more approachable style, less austere than some but that's far from saying it is at all Chablis, or anything other than an authentic, expressive wine. A touch of fig and apricot joins the salt-streaked apple on the nose, then the palate has that quite creamy, quite opulent character, stone fruits and pear, then the pin-point core of this wine; it's mineral and cool citrus acidity, quietly, efficiently extends the finish, giving this a lovely, tapering quality.
(2020) Sited next door to the most famous Grands Crus, Mont de Milieu is another prime 1er Cru site, and this beautifully ripe and expressive wine opens showing a touch of nuttiness, but much more juicy and creamy apple and stone fruit, just a background susggestion of salty, stony minerals. In the mouth it has Fourrey's hallmark style, which is fullness and supple fruit creaminess, but tensioned and etched by the terroir minerality. Juicy again, with citrus, but long and a delightful style showing both elegance and finesse and a bit of powerful intensity and structure.
(2020) Vaillons is often one of my favourite Premier Crus of Chablis, this coming from just two parcels of vines on the famous Kimmeridgian soils. It's a lovely style - relatively soft aromatically, with a certain succlence and ripeness to the fruit and just subtle flint and herbal notes. The underlying terroir minerality is there on the palate, super-fresh and riven with cleansing minerality, and yet that succulence is there again, the mid-palate acid core restraining a burgeoning fruit ripeness to lovely, long-finishing effect. £17.99 by the mixed six. Watch the video for more information and food-matching ideas.