2008 Gevrey Chambertin Combe Aux Moines Jean-Marie Fourrier



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Average critic rating : 90.0 points

89-91

89-91

Still harboring a bit of malic acid – not to mention a lot of CO2 – Fourrier 2008 Gevrey-Chambertin Combe Aux Moines had to be tasted at above-cellar temperature since the tank in which it resides had been gently warmed. An attractively yeasty, subtly toasty note – taken together with the contrast of creamy texture and berry-brightness – conveys simultaneous impressions of red currant- and cherry-filled pastry and boeuf en croute. Palpably dense yet buoyant and vibrant, this needs to shed some superficial tartness but looks on course to provide enormous satisfaction over the coming 10-12 years or more. ||Jean-Claude Fourrier left no doubt that he viewed 2008 under the aspect of a return to times and conditions he thought his generation would never have to face. “The most important determinant of quality in your range,” in 2008, he asserted, “was how willing you were to sacrifice on the sorting table.” He had only just bottled his 2008s when I tasted them at the end of February – with the exception of two wines that remained in tank, one a Combottes he had just warmed-up in a last ditch effort to push it across the lactic conversion line! “By last October,” he explains, “I was facing the situation that 5 casks out of 7 were at 80% of malic acid and the others at 20%. So you have the choice either to heat your cellar, or to make the – for me, painful – decision to bring the wine back together into vat for promoting natural inoculation. Otherwise, I would have been waiting until April, and I can hardly even consider two full years in cask for my wines To be honest, I hated my ‘08s for the first 14 months.” Primary fermentation also took place this year in large part through inoculation by utilizing whichever lots spontaneously kicked-in first as starters, because as Fourrier explained, “I’m not a fan of extended cold maceration, which means adding sulfur,” and with the ambient temperatures at which the 2008 fruit arrived in the press house, it could have taken a long time for many fermentations to commence. Potential alcohols were in the low to mid 11s, and boosted by at most a degree, lower total alcohol being one throwback to “the old days” that Fournier appreciates, “except,” as he notes, that back “in those days growers were mistakenly fixated on sugar, and chaptalization.” Fourrier finds his 2007s phenolically riper than his 2008s, but they were not showing an especially user-friendly side on the occasion when I tasted them, leading me to wonder where they’re headed, or whether they were experiencing a collective period of withdrawal. (For more about Fourrier’s always articulately and thoughtfully expressed methods – as well as about his vineyards – consult my reports in issues 170 and 186.) Wine Advocate.June, 2010

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