2017 Domaine Ferret Tete de Cru Les Clos Pouilly Fuisse
This is really quite gorgeous, stunning white Burgundy.
Ferret was established in 1946 by the formidable Madam Ferret. She was the first to domaine bottle in Pouilly Fuisse, and she managed all aspects of the business – from grape growing, to winemaking, to selling and exporting her wine. Madam Ferret was a woman of considerable talent and an iron will.
And that always showed through in her wines. The ’61, ’85 and the ’96 are legendary and still drinking well. I was not able to taste those wines, but I was able to taste the 2003 vintage this year – old, for sure, but with deep power and uniqueness, something that stated right from the cork pull, “I am profound and like nothing else – and you are in for a real treat.” And indeed, I was. It was a stunningly awesome bottle of white Burgundy.
And for most of us, 2003 was the last of Domaine Ferret. Afterwards, the domaine fell off the radar with the Madam’s passing and the tragic loss of her daughter as well. And I do mean fell off the radar. It’s been over a decade since I have seen these wines or put together an offer.
Several years after Madam’s death, Louis Jadot, the negociant and winemaker, purchased Domaine Ferret. I realize that to many of you (and including myself) large negociants like Jadot are oftentimes, at their best, far from the romantic beauty of domaine-based wines. But Jadot also has a history of purchasing troubled domaines, thoroughly tasting their wines, and keeping those domaines independent with independent winemakers.
This is the case with Domaine Ferret. Jadot hired the young and talented Audrey Brancini to entirely manage the estate and continue the traditions of Domaine Ferret. Are the current wines as good as under Madam Ferret’s tenure? I have only a few vintages to compare, and I would have to admit, no. The vintages I have tasted that Madam Ferret made, the wines were out of sight, some of the best of the best, ranking in uniqueness with DRC, or Latour, or Nicolas Joly’s Coulee de Serrant, or Frederic Meunier’s Bonnes-Mares or Conterno’s Monfortino. All wines that simply taste like nothing else in this world.
That being said, the current Ferret Pouilly is darn good and comes darn close to these exceptionally high criteria. The terroir of this legendary site lives on, and the wine shows it.
I’ll end by quoting Neal Rosenthal, longtime importer describing Ferret’s Pouilly Fuisse: “elegant beauty that seduces with its creamy texture and tealike effects that hum notes of chamomile and lime blossom.” This is the “classic” or Pouilly Fuisse that is a blend across different vineyards. The bottle of 2017 vintage that I drank recently sang to me in these tones.
This year we also have another very special Ferret Pouilly Fuisse on offer – the Le Clos Tete du Cru. As I am sure you are aware, Pouilly Fuisse has no Premier Crus. Yet for years, Madame Ferret campaigned for a Premier Cru in Pouilly. Le Clos is that place.
As you might guess, Le Clos is a special one for the domaine. The smallest single vineyard all on clay, making it a very special soil that only exists in this part of Burgundy. Apparently the fight was that this kind of soil should not be premier cru. It should be for Beaujolais! But the present-day winemaker brought 1983 and 1986 Le Clos to the commission and that changed their minds – with the 2019 vintage, because of this wine, Pouilly will gain a Premier Cru.
As a tasting note, here you have beautifully ripe fruit that offers a roundness in the mouth. As the winemaker noted to me, it’s a “welcoming wine” because of this feeling. Yet there is also a great amount of crispness in the citrus range, with a beautiful freshness and length on the back.
These are gorgeous white Burgundies, and I encourage you to purchase enough to drink now and lay down for the long haul as well.
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