It’s not every day that someone brings a chunk of the chalk that dominates the soil profile of their home all the way from France to Australia. But such is the passion and excitement that Charles-Henry Fourny has for the unique expression of the chalky ‘terroir’ behind his family’s small artisan Champagne house Veuve Fourny & Fils from Vertus in Cotes des Blancs.
As the exclusive Australian supplier of these fabulous Cuvees of ridiculously good quality, we’re thrilled to once again have Charles with us this week sharing with our team, distributors and media how that chalk produces a beautiful Champagne that is literally from the ‘salt of the earth’ and that is as good as it gets for the special moments.
It’s no surprise we have partnered with Veuve Fourny – we have many things in common. They are a hard-working, family run business and believe, like we do, that wine and Champagne should taste like the grapes and ground it came from.
Like the chalk is the unique expression of their Champagne’s terroir, the name Veuve Fourny tells their unique family story.
Veuve: means widow and is named after Charles and his brother Emmanuel’s mother who managed the estate alone after the death of their father
Fourny: is the Family name
Fils: means sons, being Charles and Emmanuel.
While Charles is the marketer, Emmanuel is the viticulturalist and winemaker. For them both, Champagne is an art and together they craft bespoke Champagnes by playing with the diversity offered by their terroir.
“We aim to preserve the purity of Champagne so it can taste of where it comes from, the dirt, the soil, the chalk. The minerals from our soil are the backbone of our Champagnes,” says Charles. "It gives them their unique taste and is what makes them so special.”
It is also a labour of love – Charles estimates it takes around 228 hours per hectare to hand pick their grapes, with handpicking one of the 250 ‘laws’ of making Champagne.
They are among the 10% of Champagne producers whose vineyards are classified PREMIER CRU, a term for the select few who have the quality of soil and climate to produce this high standard of Champagne.
Looking ahead, with harvest having just wrapped up in France, Charles is quietly confident about the 2017 vintage - though for Veuve Fourny lovers, we’ll have to wait for up to nine years before tasting given the meticulous and slow fermentation process the brothers apply to ensure perfection (which is why Emmanuel didn’t make it to Australia as he is busy back at home making the wine!)
"I have a good feeling that the sugars, acidity and minerality this year are well balanced and we can expect an outstanding 2017 vintage for Chardonnay."
There’s much to celebrate, so join with us in raising our glasses to Veuve Fourny!