Champagne Veuve Fourny
Champagne Veuve Fourny
Most of you will know by now that I am an enormous fan of the Champagnes of Veuve Fourny et Fils. They make fabulous wines of exceptional quality and depth and regularly receive rave reviews from both the domestic and international press. And now, they have just revealed a very well-kept secret with their sensational new release of a twenty-year old Cuvée “R” (see below), so it seemed like a good moment to offer their wines again.
Emmanuel and Charles-Henry are the fifth generation of the family to farm here since 1856 and now own and lease (from other family members) some 20 hectares of 1er Cu in the Côte des Blancs on the outstanding limestone and chalk soils around Vertus. They practice their own lutte raisonnée, which is organic in the vineyards, and prune very short to restrict yields. Their vines average 40 years of age and the family have practiced sélection massale since the 1930s (replanting from cuttings of the finest, oldest vines, a method regaining popularity). The vineyards are 90% Chardonnay and 10% Pinot Noir. Only the first pressing (cuvée) is used, all “tailles” (second pressings) being discarded. All their wines receive a minimum of 3 years’ ageing prior to disgorgement and a further six months “on the cork”. A state of the art, temperature-controlled chai was completed just in time for the 2012 vintage, with lots of small cuves that enable each of their 20 individual terroirs to be vinified separately and so allow Emmanuel to work his magic.
Price is Per 6 x 75cl inclusive, all wines offered subject to remaining available
NV Blanc de Blancs Extra Brut, Premier Cru – £251.70
5 g/l It’s as if someone like Alain Chavy put some remarkably fine bubbles into his Puligny. This is quite exquisite; elegant, with terrific depth of flavour and lovely balance. It sits gently on the palate and shouts quality very loudly. Very fine indeed. Perfect with Sushi and sashimi.
NV Rosé Brut, Premier Cru – £270
6g/l 50% Chardonnay, 50% destemmed Pinot Noir. Foot-trodden grapes. Cask aged. This is just lovely, amazing quality. Ripe, soft red and blacks fruits on the nose, yet in the mouth it is clean and pure with real elegance and tremendous depth of flavour, long finish. Fantastic value really, and now my new favourite rosé Champagne.
2014 Monts de Vertus, Premier Cru – £330
3 g/l Monts de Vertus is a parcel of hill-top vines, at least 50 years old. 2014 was a tricky year but, in the end, many houses, including the Fournys, produced very good, balanced wine. The M de V is a bigger wine than the NV Blanc de Blancs, more weight, deeply flavoured with mineral, almost saline undercurrent. Terrific length and balance. Marvellous.
New, Special Release
Cuvée “R” 20 ans £825 per 6 x 75 cl IB – ** Late October arrival.
One of Fourny’s top wines is the Cuvée “R” (R for Roger, one of their founders). A 100% Chardonnay blend of two consecutive vintages from fifty-year old vines on the rendzina soil over chalk of their Vertus 1er Cru vineyards, it is vinified in oak casks and then aged for 18 months on lees in oak barrels. It is then aged for at least four years in bottle in the Fournys’ 19th-century cellars. A wine of “opulence and suavity”, as they describe it, it is a gastronomic wine aimed at accompanying fine foods (they suggest white truffles and fine soft cheeses).
The great, and very exciting, news is that they’re now going to release a very special Cuvée “R”, one that has been aged for at least twenty years, so, presumably, not just any white truffle will do this time! This has to be a “must buy”, as much as any wine is. Supply is very limited (I’m having at least one bottle!) and demand is likely to be high, so get in quick!