Domaine Ferret, channelling Fuissé terroir

ferret oneNestled in the commune of Fuissé, Domaine Ferret has existed since 1840 and produces a range of Chardonnays that echo the complexity and depth of their terroir. These are cuvées that are lauded for their remarkable quality and unique style and they enjoy a reputation as a benchmark of Pouilly-Fuissé. We pause to reflect on the long history of this small domaine and on the women responsible for its success.

Founded in 1840, Domaine Ferret remains one of the most reputable domaines in the Mâconnais. Passed down the generations to the women in the Ferret family, the domaine helped put the wines of Pouilly Fuissé on the map. The domaine was handed to Jeanne Ferret in 1993, then to her daughter Collette in 2006 before being bought in 2008 by Maison Louis Jadot who entrusted the running of the domaine to the talented young oenologist Audrey Braccini. Audrey was keen to maintain the unique style crafted by this female line.

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Audrey Braccini

The vineyard spans 18 hectares spread out mostly over the Fuissé commune but with some parcels in Vergisson. The geological complexity of the soils here led the domaine to subdividing the 18 hectares into no fewer than 50 parcels. In fact, Audrey Braccini informed us that a study led by Isabelle Letessier from Sigales showed that “of all the Burgundy appellations, Pouilly-Fuissé is without doubt the most varied in terms of geology”, mixing limestone, clay, marnes, schist and sandstone soils. This geological mosaic upon which the domaine’s old vines grow bestows the wines with great complexity.

Audrey Braccini’s brought with her new cultivation methods and the domaine passed from using conventional viticulture to techniques that were more respectful of the terroir and their varying qualities. The domaine strictly limits the use of pesticides and other chemical products but if necessary, vintage conditions, soil type and the age of the vines are all considered and taken into account before any intervention in the vines.

In the winery, Audrey Braccini carries out her vinifications in line with the vine and its terroir, that’s to say as naturally as possible and conserving the identity of each of the parcels. The grapes are hand harvested in 20 to 25 kg baskets and harvest only commences when the weather is cool enough to preserve the grapes. Pressing is gentle to conserve the freshness and aromatic richesse of the Chardonnay and fermentations are carried out at a good rhythm with “not too much hanging around” with a touch of yeast added.

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Harvest time at Domaine Ferret

Blending and maturation vary depending on the cuvée. The Pouilly-Fuissé comes from a blend of different parcels of which a part is matured in old oak and a part in vats. It is assembled after 7 to 8 months ageing and bottled in October the next year. The Mâcon-Fuissé also comes from a blend of two parcels that offers a synthesis of the complexity of the different terroirs. One of these parcels is vinified entirely in vats to preserve the fresh and crunchy qualities of the grape variety. The wine is the bottled in October of the next year. As for the Tête de Cru Clos des Prouges and Hors Classe Tourant de Pouilly cuvées, they are vinified entirely in oak (20% new) and bottled in February of the next year.

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The cuvées from Domaine Ferret are a leading light in the Pouily-Fuissé appellation. Their character, masterful ageing and excellent minerality seduce critics and wine lovers alike.

We are delighted to offer some of the domaine’s cuvées from the exceptional 2016 vintage.

The 2016 vintage at Domaine Ferret

As reported by Audrey Braccini herself, the 2016 vintage had its tense moments. With higher temperatures that usual at the beginning of the year, the Fuissé region suffered a difficult spring that then brought with it low temperatures and hail. Some buds survived the hail, but May and June were cooler than usual which slowed down the vines’ growth. Luckily, the first flowers appeared on the 15th June and a hot and dry July allowed the vines to catch up. Thanks to a knowledgeable team, the harvest was not affected by the rainy period at the end of summer. Despite a low quantity, quality was excellent, and the wines show great energy.

The wines from Domaine Ferret currently on sale:

Mâcon-Fuissé J.A. Ferret 2016

The Mâcon-Fuissé from Ferret comes from two separate parcels in the appellation where the vines are aged around 20 to 25 years. Fermentation and élevage takes pace in stainless steel vats on the lees and then on fine lees. The resulting wine is elegant, offering beautiful aromas of fresh hazelnuts. Matches beautifully with trout.

Pouilly-Fuissé J.A. 2016

The Pouilly-Fuissé from Domaine Ferret is a blend of the best parcels situated around Fuissé amphitheatre. 10 to 35-year-old vines grow in clay and limestone rich soil. Vinifcation and élevage take place half in stainless steel vats, half in oak and the wine is bottled only as the moon is waning. This wine has aromas of fruit, white flowers and verbena. In the mouth it is mineral, balanced, fresh and well rounded. Enjoy it with sea food, poultry or goats cheese.

Pouilly-Fuissé J.A. Ferret Hors Classe Tournant de Pouilly 2016

The Hors Classe Tournant de Pouilly comes from 60-year-old vines. Fermentation and élevage take place in oak (20% to 30% new). Elevage is then finished off in vats on fine lees for 8 months. The nose is subtle and offers aromas of toasted almonds, lime and wax. The mouth is opulent, rich, mineral and refined. The finish combines length, intensity and delicacy. This cuvée has great ageing potential and can be matched with many different foods such as fish, poultry and comté cheese.

Pouilly-Fuissé J.A. Ferret Tête de Cru Clos des Prouges 2016

Le Clos des Prouges is a small clos of 2 hectares. This cuvée is fermented and matured in oak for 9 months then 5 months in stainless steel vats. Mineral and with chalky aromas, this wine also has notes of fresh fruit. In the mouth it is creamy and ample with lightly toasted notes, power and remarkable tension. A remarkably balanced wine with great ageing potential.

See all the wines from Domaine Ferret currently on sale 

See all wines from Burgundy currently on sale

See all wines currently on sale

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Other things to read on the iDealwine blog:

Domaine Etienne Sauzet, the splendour of the Puligny Montrachet terroir

A guide to wines of Burgundy: what on earth is a climat?

Vincent Dancer: grace, elegance and balance

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