Chateau Fonroque 2018
The wines of Fonroque are naturally rich and racy. The clay terroir gives them strength and profundity. The limestone gives them a definite mineral quality. There is a lovely freshness on the palate, with much elegance and refinement. Its length foreshadows a substantial cellaring potential.
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
Checking in as a blend of 82% Merlot and 18% Cabernet Franc, the 2018 Château Fonroque offers a rich, powerful nose of ripe black fruits and cassis as well as vanilla bean, spice box, and chocolate. Rich, medium to full-bodied, and concentrated, it has plenty of background oak, a great mid-palate, and one heck of a terrific finish. This is the real deal and certainly the finest wine I've tasted from the estate. Give bottles 2-3 years and enjoy over the following decade. It should be a stunning value.
Stewed berries, currants, cloves, sweet tobacco and some orange zest on the nose. It’s full-bodied with firm, tightly knit tannins, framing a core of ripe dark fruit. Spiced and zesty finish. Fills your mouth. Try from 2024.
There is an enjoyable hawthorn and bramble edge, quite different in feel from the others. More freshly cut herbs, with rosemary and sage notes. A little high in acidity on a finish that brings things to an end slightly abruptly. 30% new oak. Biodynamic and organic. Drinking Window 2024 - 2040
A blend of 82% Merlot and 18% Cabernet Franc, the 2018 Fonroque has a deep garnet-purple color and rambunctious scents of baked black plums, boysenberry preserves and fruitcake with hints of Indian spices, potpourri, cedar and sandalwood. The medium to full-bodied palate has soft, well-managed tannins and plenty of freshness to support the black fruit preserves and spicy flavors, finishing earthy.
The 2018 Fonroque, which I gave an hour’s decant, has retained its very opulent, quite ostentatious bouquet of black cherries, fig, cassis and touches of black olive. The palate is medium-bodied and candied on the entry. This is very exuberant, with blood-orange-infused red fruit, gaining better focus toward the delineated finish. I wish the aromatics were just toned down a notch, because otherwise, this is a decent Saint-Émilion.
In 2005, as a logical progression of all the procedures undertaken by Alain Moueix and his team, biodynamic methods were implemented for the entire vineyard (started in 2002).
For Alain Moueix, this type of viticulture brings more coherence to his commitment to ecological and high-quality winegrowing. His motivations take into account the environment, the durability of the soils and an aim to bring out the best expression of the terroir as well as the intensity and fine balance of the wines.
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.
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. Typically based on either Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot and supported by Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot, the best of these are densely hued, fragrant, full of fruit and boast a structure that begs for cellar time. Somm Secret—Blends from Bordeaux are generally earthier compared to those from the New World, which tend to be fruit-dominant.