Several generations had farmed his land in the humble parts of the Cote de Nuits, but he didn't inherit the vines until after 16 years' time working alongside de Smet at L'Arlot, where he watched a master at work, creating sumptuous and soulful wines in a classic method. Didier has applied all that knowledge to his family's wines: Says Noah, "This is truly masterful, whole-cluster winemaking - all the crunchy fruit, savory aromatics...I'm in awe"
He's applied all of his knowledge to his family's wines: Says Noah, "This is truly masterful, whole-cluster winemaking - all the crunchy fruit, savory aromatics...I'm in awe - maybe it's not appropriate to compare producers, but in Didier's wines I almost feel Jacques Seyesses' influence here." He drifts off as memories seep back in. "Actually, my first trip to Burgundy, we ended up at L'Arlot, tasting with de Smet, at which point L'Arlot was a hidden gem of sorts and it sank into my brain." Now those have blown straight up and his former mentee is the hidden gem. "I guess they aren't a true secret," Noah laments, "But they just aren't expensive. Maybe we're just lucky. I don't know. Drink 'em while you can!"
Didier has about 1.2 hectares total of white grapes, both Aligoté and Chardonnay. The white wines are fermented with minimal intervention, and the Bourgogne Blanc as well as the Cote de Nuits-Villages Blanc see about 20% new oak.
The reds typically have a great influence of whole-cluster fermentation, as Noah alluded to, and are all fermented in barrel - about 10% of which is new. Fornerol's plots are mostly in the Cote de Nuits-Villages. The Bourgogne Rouge , and is a beautiful intro to the range, red and dark-fruited with delicate spice. The Hautes-Cotes de Nuits-Villages has a more pronounced stony mineral tone, and is brighter as the elevation here is the highest of all his vineyards. There are two Cote de Nuits-Villages reds; the flagship wine comes from about 3.7 hectares of family land with about 40 year-old vines on average. Red- and dark-fruited, perfectly laced with minerals and subtle spice, and perfectly silky texture. The Rue des Foins comes from a nearby vineyard, but from a 0.5 hectare plot that Fornerol and de Smet found to consistently produce higher-quality fruit - expect a darker hue, more concentrated flavors, really just that extra notch more intensity.