Régis and Quentin Forey at Domaine Forey in Vosne-Romanée, Burgundy.

he core of Domaine Forey in Vosne-Romanée was created by one man and two horses. Back in his day, Régis Forey’s grandfather used to trade vineyard work for vineyards. As a result, the 1.8 hectares of Vosne-Romanée vineyards are spread out over 20 different parcels. One of them is a 0.30 ha parcel of Vosne-Romanée, Les Gaudichots, making this one of the few places where you can taste this particular premier cru.

– I only make red wine. I have some Bourgogne blanc and some Bourgogne Aligoté, but it is all sold off as grapes. I enjoy drinking white wine, but I don’t like making it.

Vosne-Romanée, Burgundy.In addition to the Vosne-Romanée vineyards there are holdings in the neighbouring villages, from Morey-Saint-Denis to Nuits-Saint-Georges, making it a total of 9.5 hectares. Recently Régis Forey has been joined by his son Quentin, who will take on the domaine further down the line.

– My original plan was to go into music, explains Régis Forey. But my father fell ill in the early 1980s, so I came here instead. I then went to wine school and did some internships before I returned to the family domaine. In 1983 we began bottling our own wines. Before that we didn’t sell anything in bottle.

Vosne-Romanée, Burgundy.In recent years butte raisonnée, sustainable viticulture, has been the framework at Domaine Forey. Since 2016 Régis Forey is part of a group of winegrowers working with phytotherapy, plant-derived treatments.

– I enjoy experimenting, he says. Previous generations killed the soil. We are trying to find ways to bring life back. Being a winegrower means you have a job that is changing over time. At the moment we are trying to find ways of working that are more natural. But the changes have also meant I am spending less time in the vineyards. A domaine of this size is not big enough for you to employ someone who takes care of the administration.

– My father had four and a half hectares. There was one Vosne-Romanée cuvée and one Nuits-Saint-Georges. Obviously he had some Bourgogne rouge as well. But he would put all Vosne-Romanée, including the premier crus and the Échezeaux, in the same tank. By December it was sold off to a négociant and he could relax. It was a very different life.

Clos de Vougeot, Burgundy.Quentin Forey has joined his father after a stint in Champagne.

– I was with Champagne Taillet, Quentin Forey says. It’s small, but he works in the same manner as my father. Three different grape varieties. But it’s Champagne, so it’s all white. Here it’s just red.

– Then again, says his father with a big smile, I have seen old labels of my grandfather’s which says Romanée-Mousseux…

The Bourgogne rouge of Domaine Forey comes from parcels in Vosne-Romanée and Nuits-Saint-Georges. These were planted between 1955 and 1974. In Nuits-Saint-Georges the soil is deep. The Vosne-Romanée parcels are located just behind the cuverie, which is just below the Clos de Vougeot. In the past the wine was made right in the centre of Vosne-Romanée, but the domaine eventually outgrew the place. In 1999 a new winery was built just across the route nationale.

Vosne-Romanée, Burgundy.– All the regional appellations, as well as the village appellations, are aged in 500 litre barrels. We adopt according to the vintage. For instance, in 2017 it was 40 per cent new oak for the village appellations, but just ten per cent for the regionals. In 2018 it was 80 per cent for the village appellations.

The village appellation Morey-Saint-Denis is a wine from the Gevrey-Chambertin side, from a lieu-dit called Les Crais, where the soil is quite sandy.

– The village appellation Nuits-Saint-Georges comes from the southernmost part of the appellation, explains Régis Forey. From Plantes au Baron and Les Charbonnières just above the cemetery, which means my grandfather is keeping an eye on the vines.

Régis Forey at Domaine Forey in Vosne-Romanée, Burgundy.The village appellation Vosne-Romanée is a bit particular at Domaine Forey. It comes in three different ”flavours”. It is all the same cuvée, but it is aged in three different ways. There is the basic cuvée which is aged 500 litre barrels. There is the Jarre cuvée which is aged in terracotta jars. And there is the Menhir cuvée which is aged in a tronconic oak vat.

– The results are very different, says Quentin Forey. One is not necessarily better than the other. Just different. It is more a question if you prefer the wine a bit more on the oaky side or on the mineral side.

There are five premier crus at Domaine Forey. Two in Nuits-Saint-Georges (Les Perrières and Les Saints-Georges), two in Vosne-Romanée (Petits Monts and Les Gaudichots) and one in Morey-Saint-Denis. Since the Morey-Saint-Denis one is a blend it is simply labelled as premier cru, without any mention of lieu-dit. It is made from grapes from Les Blanchards and Clos Baulet, both right in front of the village itself.

Vosne-Romanée, Burgundy.– Les Perrières is basically just stones, says Régis Forey. Next to it you have the Nuits-Saint-Georges quarry with its pink Comblanchien marble. The vines are 60 years old. It is difficult to plough and it is difficult to plant. You really only have the very top layer. The rest is stones. The grapes are always very small and very ripe. It is a nice vineyard and it is a very easy wine to make.

A bit further south is Les Saint-Georges, the most prestigious premier cru of the appellation and possibly a future grand cru, the first for Nuits-Saint-Georges.

– I was there when the work began, says Régis Forey. And that was about ten years ago. Having Les Saint-Georges upgraded to grand cru is a very long process. I think it is a good idea, but there is one grower who wants seven grand crus in Nuits-Saint-Georges, like Gevrey-Chambertin. That is ridiculous. Maybe Vaucrains, but, no.

Vosne-Romanée, Burgundy.In the past, from 1976 to 2005, before Louis-Michel Liger-Belair brought the vineyards back to his family domaine, Régis Forey used to be responsible for the vinification of La Romanée and Aux Reignots. Today the Vosne-Romanée premier crus of the domaine are Petits Monts and Les Gaudichots, one above Richebourg and one next to La Tâche.

– Les Gaudichots is the first vineyard my grandparents got, says Régis Forey. They had ten ares. In 2008 I bought another 20 ares. The two parcels are next to each other at the top of Les Gaudichots. I have started to replant the parcel of my grandparents. I have uprooted three rows. Domaine de la Romanée-Conti is the biggest owner in Les Gaudichots. Then there is me. Domaine Dujac has ten or twelve ares, which end up in their Malconsorts. The fourth, and last owners, is Domaine Machard de Gramont.

Quentin Forey at Domaine Forey in Vosne-Romanée, Burgundy.Since 1999 Régis Forey has been renting a parcel in Clos de Vougeot. It is a 0.30 hectare parcel in the eastern corner, with vines planted between 1972 and 1986.

– We are below Chateau de la Tour, he says. Above Prieur and next to Raphet. just next to the first gate. The grapes are not the most powerful. I green-harvest in order to lower the yield to 30-35 hl/ha. The soil is deep and rich. The wine sees 80 per cent new oak.

The other grand cru of Domaine Forey, the Echézeaux, comes from family owned vines. One parcel in the Clos Saint-Denis part of Echézeaux and one in the Les Treux part.

– My father bought the parcel in Clos Saint-Denis, says Régis Forey. When I arrived in 1983 I bought Les Treux. It is right in the corner, touching on both Clos de Vougeot and Grands Echézeaux.

– Les Treux is situated on the ejection cone. The soil is very fine. Very black and light. In Clos Saint-Denis the soil is slightly heavier. The Echézeaux is a more powerful wine than the Clos de Vougeot. I use 70 per cent whole bunches for the Echézeaux and 60 per cent for the Clos de Vougeot. The yield is slightly higher for the Echézeaux as well.


© 2021 Ola Bergman