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Domaine J Fournier, La Croix Violette Cote de Nuits 2011
Domaine Jean Fournier
A complex nose of black fruit intermingling with pencil shavings and mulchy aromas, The palate is medium-bodied with supple black fruit, soft and round. This is very seductive, a little modern in style, still balanced with a sensual, caressing, oyster shell-tinged finish
At harvest, all fruit is sorted upon arrival to dutifully eliminate botrytis-affected fruit before entering the cellar. Laurent wants the character to come down to the plant (the vine) and not the process of what comes after. In the cellar, he begins fermentations in concrete vats and gravity feeds his free run and pressed wines to large barrels in the subterranean level of his two-tiered cellar, naturally maintaining a cool, damp environment. He rarely has more than 20% new oak in use at any time as he wants the oak élevage to bring out the latent character of the fruit rather than to become part of the profile. Fournier uses thick 600L demi-muids of Austrian oak for Bourgogne level wines and usually uses 500L barrels for his village and site-specific wines. Laurent believes that the Austrian oak is uniquely suited for his Bourgogne wine style because the raw wood is matured for over 5 years in a continental climate with real temperature variation so that the tighter oak grains allow just the right amount of oxygen exchange and tannin as he likes.
The Fournier name is one of the oldest in the historical records in the village of Marsannay-la-Côte first appearing in the 17th century. The family (of Swiss origin) has been growing grapes for generations now as part of a polyculture farm with animals, grains, cherries and asparagus. But it wasn’t until the 1960’s that Jean Fournier created his domaine and started to bottle wine for commercial purposes. His son, Laurent, joined him in 2001 and assumed full responsibility for operations in 2003 at which point the vineyards began their conversion to organic farming. The vineyards were Ecocert certified organic in 2008, but this was not enough for Laurent who sees the preservation of the land and ecosystems as keys to the survival of his community. In 2016, he started employing biodynamic practices with plans to slowly convert the entire domaine for certification.
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