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Flat front label of wine

Chateau Fontenil (Futures Pre-Sale) 2016

Bordeaux Red Blends from Fronsac, Bordeaux, France
  • WS93
  • JS93
  • RP92
0% ABV
  • JS92
  • RP91
  • WS91
  • WE90
  • RP92
  • WE92
  • JS91
  • WS91
  • WS91
  • RP90
  • WS91
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Winemaker Notes

Critical Acclaim

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WS 93
Wine Spectator
Sleek in feel, with racy acidity pulling the raspberry and plum fruit along from the get-go. The chalky minerality is well-embedded on the finish. Solid.
Barrel Sample: 90-93 Points
JS 93
James Suckling
Very pretty balance to this with a juicy fruit character, bright acidity and a long and flavorful finish. Savory and juicy.
Barrel Sample: 92-93 Points
RP 92
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The 2016 Fontenil has a tightly wound bouquet with blackberry and subtle undergrowth aromas that change towards more marine-like, estuarine scents. There is certainly good complexity here. The palate is nicely poised with plenty of dusky black fruit. There is actually a very slight green edge...not under-ripe, perhaps more a leafiness that actually complements this Fronsac and lends freshness. I think this will turn out very fine once in bottle.
Barrel Sample: 90-92 Points
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Chateau Fontenil

Chateau Fontenil

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Chateau Fontenil, Fronsac, Bordeaux, France
Image of winery
Dany and Michel Rolland are the heirs to a solid family wine tradition. Both have degrees in oenology from the University of Bordeaux, and they know the Fronsac appellation well. Having been consultants to numerous estates in the region, they decided to set up there and make wine.

In 1986, they acquired a few hectares in the commune of Saillans, which they called château Fontenil, after the name of one of the plots in the vineyard. The renovation work on the installations lasted until 1999; the vinification cellars, the barrel cellar and the storage cellar were all equipped with high-performance material.

Perfectly organized, tradition remains alongside new technologies: small stainless steel and wooden vats, double sorting table, barrel stock of which 60% are renewed each year and where malolactic fermentation is carried out – yield control from pruning the vines until green harvesting- sustainable viticulture, manual harvesting plot by plot using small crates.

The vines are on a slope with a southerly aspect, looking down on the river isle – a tributary of the Dordogne – and the town of Lilbourn. This magnificent setting frames an estate whose wines are among those which have enhanced the reputation of the Fronsac appellation.

Home of the very first remarkable Right Bank wines, dating back to the 1730s, Fronsac and Canon-Fronsac actually retained more fame than Pomerol well into the 19th century. Today these wines represent some of Bordeaux’s best hidden gems.

Fronsac is a very small region at an unusually high elevation compared to other Bordeaux appellations. Its vineyards unroll along the oak-dotted hills bordering the river’s edge, making it perhaps Bordeaux’s prettiest and most majestic countryside.

Merlot covers 60% of the vineyard acreage; the rest of the vines are Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon. The Fronsac and Canon-Fronsac appellations are limited to the higher land where soils are predominantly limestone and sandstone. Lower vineyards along the Dordogne River mainly qualify for Bordeaux AOC status

The best Fronsac are deeply concentrated in ripe red and black berry; they have a solid mineral backbone and are rich and plush on the finish.

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/or 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 can be bold and fruit-forward or restrained and earthy, while New World facsimiles tend to emulate the former style. In general, Bordeaux red blends can 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, the New World is free to experiment. Bordeaux blends in California may include Syrah, Petite Sirah, Zinfandel, or virtually any other grape deemed worthy by the winemaker. In Australia, Shiraz is a common component.

CVBF242562_2016 Item# 242562