Grower Champagne Club – May 2014

Vve. Fourny & Fils, Premier Cru, Grande Réserve
The Champagne house of Veuve Fourny is in its fifth generation, now run by brothers Charles-Henry and Emmanuel Fourny. The family has farmed their premier cru vineyards since 1856 and even owns one of the few walled vineyard plots left in Champagne (Clos Faubourg Notre-Dame). They farm all of their vineyards meticulously, and with impeccable vitcultural practices, and they ensure that any fruit they buy (yes, they do buy some fruit, from trusted friends and family members, hence the NM designation) is farmed just as stringently as their own. Fourny is located in the Côte des Blancs village of Vertus where a small amount of Pinot Noir is planted and their Grande Réserve is a blend of 80% Chardonnay and 20% Pinot Noir. The soil here, of course, is mostly chalk, and their various vineyard sites have east, south, and southeast sun exposures. They vinify the fruit from these plots separately, for later blending into their different cuvées, typically allowing partial malolactic fermentation, which adds richness to the wines, and low dosage, allowing the pure characteristics of the individual vineyard sites to shine through. The house also ages at least a portion of each cuvée in used oak barrels, which gives their Champagnes their signature depth and aromatic complexity. Their Grande Réserve has wonderful notes of fresh brioche on the nose, and on the palate it is full and rich, with the red fruit flavor of the Pinot Noir ever present, yet subtle. It is $56 and, with its balancing freshness and elegance, it is a lovely Champagne on its own, or to enjoy with a meal.