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A New Era for Marsannay


A New Era for Marsannay

Domain Jean Fournier Joins T Edward

Laurent Fournier, winemaker at Domaine Jean Fournier, is deeply and understandably attached to his land—not to mention the legacy entrusted to him from the centuries before. Laurent talks a lot about how past generations fought against urbanization to preserve the unique terroir of the Marsannay hillsides that meets the expanding borders of Dijon. Two generations of vigneron have fought an urbanization project that threatened 5 hectares of quality AOP vineyards, and the measure was finally defeated in 2015. At the fore were Laurent and his friends, such as Sylvain Pataille, Philippe Huguenot, Bernard Bouvier and Martin and Pierre Bart as the torchbearers for Marsannay in the twenty-first century. They are the ones who make things happen in the AOP. Their struggle is an everyday effort and these winemakers are well-respected for what they have been able to achieve for Marsannay and her growers.

Marsannay itself consists of 302 hectares of vineyards divided among 40 producers. As late as the 19th century, Marsannay held the status equivalent to today’s Pommard or Chassagne, but the AOP became obscured because only a small proportion was planted to Pinot Noir when the rest of the Côte de Nuits was rising to prominence. Before the 20th century, Marsannay was mainly planted to Gamay and Aligoté for the production of wines to quench the thirst of Dijon’s laborers. In 1930, when the village AOP’s were created, Marsannay was left out, lacking Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, though it was noted for rosé production and officially recognized as Rosé de Marsannay in 1919. However, the quality of the terroir itself was never questioned legitimately. Finally in 1986, Marsannay’s fight to gain notoriety achieved a milestone: AOP status.

Future 1er Cru of Marsannay
As part of this effort, Laurent and his and contemporaries have focused on elevating the notoriety of key lieux-dits. And much like the resistance of Fournier against urban sprawl, Marsannay is proudly set to receive Premier Cru status for several of its vineyards in 2020. The map above shows the vineyards that will soon be classified 1er Cru including Clos du Roy (in red above) and Les Longeroies (in white), two lieux-dits farmed by Fournier that will account for a large part of 1er Cru Marsannay production.
Les Langeroies as it curves north to Clos du Roy

These two vineyards are neighbors, situated in the northern sector of the appellation, and considered among the best in Marsannay. Certainly they are the two most recognizable names of the AOP.

Les Langeroies
Les Longeroies is a vineyard of roughly 34 hectares that starts with an eastern exposure and finishes with a southerly one as it wraps around the forest of the Combe de Vincent Morizet.  Laurent Fournier blends his 6 different parcels of Longeroies to make a wine distinguished round and balanced character with a dynamic minerality.
Clos du Roy
Clos du Roy is 24 hectares exposed due east with a steeper slope than neighboring Longeroies. The slope and accompanying protection from the prevailing winds make this terroir a longer ripening one. Clos du Roy also has a colder character due to stronger limestone content. These wines generally have a lighter color than Longeroies and a smokier, red fruit character.

The Preparation and Practice of Emmanuel Giboulot

Balance in the Vineyard

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