Regis Forey: The 2014 Vintage

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On February 6th, we will receive the impressive 2014 vintage wines from Regis Forey. Our visit to his cellar this past September unveiled one of the best lineups we have experienced, perhaps since the great ’89/’90 vintages.  Both the 2014 and 2015 vintages show enormous potential, though we were particularly captivated with the purity and elegance of the 2014s. Our excitement stems largely from several subtle changes occurring at the domaine in recent years. Consistently excellent quality has never been a problem with Regis Forey; now, the wines have achieved a new sense of balance, rediscovering the elegance and finesse that graced the very first wines we purchased in 1982 from this Vosne-based domaine, then under the direction of Regis’s father, Jean Forey.

When Regis took over from his father in 1987, the wines evolved toward a more masculine character. Deeply colored and concentrated, the powerful wines crafted by Regis in his youth occasionally masked the nuances inherent in Forey’s amazing holdings, particularly during the early stages of development. Regis has softened his touch. He now jokingly claims that in his older age he doesn’t like to do as much work in the cellar; he is content to let the wines make themselves. Pigeage is limited to once a day; there is increased use of demi-muid instead of barrique; the use of new oak has been tempered dramatically (we were surprised to see an amphora nestled amongst his barrels!); and, he has eliminated racking during elevage, preferring to leave the wines on the lees with the consequent use of less sulfur. The results of these changes are wines that show a purity of fruit and a fine-tuned mineral structure; more so than in previous vintages. The stunning range of the Forey holdings are now, once again, on brilliant display.

The 2014s from Domaine Forey are at the same time generous and classic examples of red Burgundy.  Regis began harvesting on September 13th and was quite pleased with the quality of the grapes.  The ‘14s manage to retain a lovely balance of fresh fruit with firm but graceful acidity. Tannins are tangible but yielding. The alcohol levels are comparably low, hovering around 13% for the village wines and 13.5% for the Premier Crus. These are wines that present beautifully at this early stage (especially the Bourgogne Rouge and the village-level wines) but that also have the structure and concentration to develop nicely into the future.  We are unabashedly in love with this vintage and Forey’s version of it.

Bourgogne Rouge: The ’14 is made from several old parcels in Nuits-Saint-Georges and Vosne-Romanée. This vintage is a very pure and elegant version of Forey’s Bourgogne Rouge, a perennial overachiever.  Aromas are explosive and fresh with clean cherry fruit. The wine is quite fruity but delicate on the palate, with a nice, fresh acid backbone.  The Forey ’14 Bourgogne has the strength of Nuits-Saint-Georges married to the elegance of Vosne-Romanée, a formidable value!  Only 109 cases available for the USA.

Morey-Saint-Denis: The Morey-Saint-Denis is made from grapes in “Clos Solon” and “Les Crais”. The vines date back to 1966, though one section was planted in 1986, another old vines bottling. Pure, fresh cherry and fragrant herbs dominate the nose. The fruit is chiseled and mineral with good tension. Not particularly tannic, it finishes clean and mineral. This is without a doubt the most vivacious of the three Forey Village wines. 150 cases available for the USA.

Vosne-Romanée: Always a standout from this cellar, the Vosne-Romanée comes from a little over one hectare of mostly old parcels (the oldest planted in 1942), scattered among 14 different plots. Aromatically, the Vosne is spicier with a darker tonality when compared to the Morey-Saint-Denis. On the palate, the fruit leans toward black cherry with hints of currant, iron, and earthy spices. The tannins are present and firm, silky in texture and notably fruity, a particularly classy wine from this distinguished village. 159 cases available for the USA.

Nuits-Saint-Georges:  The vines for this cuvée are particularly old and well-situated, made from three parcels totaling about one hectare. The primary two parcels are in “Plantes Aux Barons” (.40 hectare) and “Charbonnieres” (.60 hectare), both of which are in Prémeaux on its northern border with Nuits. When compared with Forey’s other village-level offerings, the 2014 Nuit-Saint-Georges is “primus inter pares”. It is robust and concentrated, with spicy black cherry fruit. The texture is silky but structured, with firm tannins that do not overwhelm; punches well above its weight!  Only 58 cases available for the USA.

Morey-Saint-Denis 1er Cru: Forey’s Morey-Saint-Denis Premier Cru is made from a tiny .10-hectare parcel straddling “Les Blanchards” and “Clos Baulet”. Regis produced only one 400L barrel in 2014.  The fruity and ripe ’14 is powerful, showing black cherry, slightly medicinal fruit, deep structural minerality and supple tannins. Vast potential … so, please have patience. A mere 7 cases available for the USA.

Nuit-Saint-Georges 1er Cru “Les Perrières”: “Les Perrières” is always one of the more stunning releases from Forey’s cellar, made from .42-hectares of vines planted between 1937 and 1942.  The 2014 is remarkably elegant. It presents impressively: airy with a pure cherry aromas and flavors married to cranberry-like fruit. Our long history with the Forey “Perrieres” gives us great assurance that this wine will evolve into a complex, long-lived beauty.  Only 30 cases available for the USA.

Nuit-Saint-Georges 1er Cru “Les Saint Georges”: This .2-hectare parcel of vines planted in 1933 is the undisputed ruler of the Forey holdings in Nuits-Saint-Georges.  The “Les Saint Georges” lieu-dit is considered the ultimate wine of the appellation, more powerful and profound than “Les Perrières”, with more forward fruit and a rich glycerol texture. While the fruit leans ripe, the elegance of the ’14 vintage shows itself with an underlying freshness, a saline minerality and silky tannins. Only 5 cases for the USA.

Vosne-Romanée 1er Cru “Les Petits Monts”: This great Premier Cru, from a .2-hectare parcel of 46-year-old vines, is situated just above Richebourg. Always leaning to the elegant side of the spectrum, this wine plays well with the 2014 vintage. The ’14 is airy and silky and dances on the palate. The fruit is pure and high-toned, with layers of underlying spices and minerals and very fine supporting tannins. Only 5 cases available for the USA.

Vosne-Romanée 1er Cru “Les Gaudichots”:  The Forey family was the first to declare and bottle the “Guadichots” as a separate lieu-dit (unless one includes the DRC’s La Tache, originally lying within this spectacular 1er Cru!).  Jean Forey produced a mere barrel of Gaudichots in the early days of our acquaintance and, with the 1983 vintage, he decided to bottle this wine instead of blending it into his village Vosne Romanée.  We have been importing the largest share of this very small production ever since that time.  Always the most requested wine from Forey, the “Les Gaudichots” from the 2014 vintage does not disappoint. Compared with “Les Petits Monts”, this cuvee is much broader, with darker and more dense, plummy fruit and a firmer, more tannic backbone. The tannins are savory and strict, boding well for future development. Again, be patient with this gem and you will reap the rewards.  Only 15 cases available for the USA.

Échezeaux Grand Cru 2014: Forey works a .3-hectare parcel e within the climats of “Les Treux” and “Clos Saint Denis”. The 2014 is explosively aromatic, with an almost liqueur note of Crème de cassis and high-toned floral aromas. The concentrated fruit is broad and tannic, with fresher layers of cherry and herbs underneath. The ’14 Échezeaux is quite structured now and will appreciate some time to relax and open up. Only 20 cases available for the USA.

Clos de Vougeot Grand Cru 2014: Here Forey works 1/3 of a hectare in the northern part of the “Moniotes” and “Basses” sections of the Clos. The vineyard was planted in 1968 and 1972. The Clos de Vougeot is showing more balance than the Échezeaux at this youthful stage. The nose is elegant and more floral with earthy spices. The fruit on the palate is balanced, with loads of fresh cherry and deep mineral notes.  The wine finishes with a healthy dose of tannin, shows a sexy bitter black cherry fruit, and displays a spice and character not dissimilar to a tame Barolo.  Only 15 cases for the USA.

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