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Chateau Fonplegade (Futures Pre-Sale) 2017

Bordeaux Red Blends from St. Emilion, Bordeaux, France
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Winemaker Notes

Critical Acclaim

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RP 95
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The deep garnet-purple colored 2017 Fonplegade has quite a spicy nose sporting notes of anise, cloves, fenugreek and black pepper over a core of warm black plums and blackberries plus a waft of potpourri. Medium-bodied with a rock-solid frame of grainy tannins and wonderful freshness, it features bags of vibrant black fruits and a long, spicy finish.
Barrel Sample: 93-95
V 94
Vinous
The 2017 Fonplégade has a very classy bouquet with very pure blackberry and raspberry fruit, hints of cassis developing with aeration. The fruit is very well knitted with the oak. The palate is well balanced with fine tannin, crisp acidity, superb structure and delivers a really detailed and convincing finish. Bravo. This is an outstanding Saint-Émilion. – Neil Martin
Barrel Sample: 92-94
WS 93
Wine Spectator
Open-knit, with light anise, tea and cinnamon hints leading off, followed by gently mulled cherry and plum fruit. Lively acidity is embedded on the finish.
Barrel Sample: 90-93
JS 93
James Suckling
This shows a very pretty center palate with blueberries, blackberries and white pepper. Solid tannins and structure. Long and flavorful.
Barrel Sample: 92-93
JD 92
Jeb Dunnuck
The 2017 Château Fonplegade is 90% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Franc from a beautiful terroir not far from Pavie. It showed some aggressive tannins, but I suspect they’ll soften and round out during the élevage. The color is deep purple, and it offers a terrific bouquet of cassis and currant fruits, licorice and graphite. Medium-bodied, with nicely integrated oak, a touch of minerality, and solid overall balance, it has plenty of length and oomph on the finish. I suspect 2-3 years of bottle age will be warranted and it will drink nicely for a decade or more.
Barrel Sample: 90-92
D 92
Decanter
Another great vintage from an estate that has been firing on all cylinders over the past few vintages, aided by consultants Michel Rolland and Stéphane Derenoncourt. There's a gorgeous vibrant colour here with violet reflections, and the firm tannins on the attack are well plumped up. The austerity of the vintage is there but extremely well-handled, and even turned to its advantage because it plays its hand slowly and carefully. It's really quite a serious and well-structured wine, with a freshness through the palate; I love it. 60% new oak. The estate has been organic since 2013 and undergoing biodynamic conversion since 2017. Harvest was 13-29 September. Tasted at the estate.
Barrel Sample
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Chateau Fonplegade

Chateau Fonplegade

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Chateau Fonplegade, France - Other regions
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For centuries, the vine rows of Chateau Fonplegade have been the source for some of Saint-Emilion’s most coveted winegrapes. Grown in ideal limestone and clay soils, and nourished in drier years by the deep under-ground water source that feeds the fountain of Fonplegade, their vines benefit from a harmonious relationship between the elements—a relationship that yields wines of uncommon grace and grandeur. As stewards of these cherished vine rows, they cultivate their vineyards using strict ECOCERT organic practices, both to preserve the purity and character of their grapes, and to ensure the legacy of Chateau Fonplegade for generations to come.
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St-Émilion

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Marked by its historic fortified village—perhaps the prettiest in all of Bordeaux, the St-Émilion appellation, along with its neighboring village of Pomerol, are leaders in quality on the Right Bank of Bordeaux. These Merlot-dominant red wines (complemented by various amounts of Cabernet Franc and/or Cabernet Sauvignon) remain some of the most admired and collected wines of the world.

St-Émilion has the longest history in wine production in Bordeaux—longer than the Left Bank—dating back to an 8th century monk named Saint Émilion who became a hermit in one of the many limestone caves scattered throughout the area.

Today St-Émilion is made up of hundreds of independent farmers dedicated to the same thing: growing Merlot and Cabernet Franc (and tiny amounts of Cabernet Sauvignon). While always roughly the same blend, the wines of St-Émilion vary considerably depending on the soil upon which they are grown—and the soils do vary considerably throughout the region.

The chateaux with the highest classification (Premier Grand Cru Classés) are on gravel-rich soils or steep, clay-limestone hillsides. There are only four given the highest rank, called Premier Grand Cru Classés A (Chateau Cheval Blanc, Ausone, Angélus, Pavie) and 14 are Premier Grand Cru Classés B. Much of the rest of the vineyards in the appellation are on flatter land where the soils are a mix of gravel, sand and alluvial matter.

Great wines from St-Émilion will be deep in color, and might have characteristics of blackberry liqueur, black raspberry, licorice, chocolate, grilled meat, earth or truffles. They will be bold, layered and lush.

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Bordeaux Blends

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One of the world’s most classic and popular styles of red wine, Bordeaux-inspired blends have spread from their homeland in France to nearly every corner of the New World, especially in California, Washington and Australia. Typically based on either Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot and supported by Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot, these are sometimes referred to in the US as “Meritage” blends. In Bordeaux itself, Cabernet Sauvignon dominates in wines from the Left Bank of the Gironde River, while the Right Bank focuses on Merlot. Often, blends from outside the region are classified as being inspired by one or the other.

In the Glass

Cabernet-based, Left-Bank-styled wines are typically more tannic and structured, while Merlot-based wines modeled after the Right Bank are softer and suppler. Cabernet Franc can add herbal notes, while Malbec and Petit Verdot contribute color and structure. Wines from Bordeaux lean towards a highly structured and earthy style whereas New World areas (as in the ones named above) tend to produce bold and fruit-forward blends. Either way, Bordeaux red blends generally have aromas and flavors of black currant, cedar, plum, graphite, and violet, with more red fruit flavors when Merlot makes up a high proportion of the blend.

Perfect Pairings

Since Bordeaux red blends are often quite structured and tannic, they pair best with hearty, flavorful and fatty meat dishes. Any type of steak makes for a classic pairing. Equally welcome with these wines would be beef brisket, pot roast, braised lamb or smoked duck.

Sommelier Secret

While the region of Bordeaux is limited to a select few approved grape varieties in specified percentages, the New World is free to experiment. Bordeaux blends in California may include equal amounts of Cabernet Franc and Malbec, for example. Occassionally a winemaker might add a small percentage of a non-Bordeaux variety, such as Syrah or Petite Sirah for a desired result.

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