The Cellar: Chateau Fombrauge

Saturday, January 21, 2017
Steffen Rasch, GoLocalProv Wine Writer

This week's featured wine is an absolutely stunning Bordeaux! Chateau Fombrauge is this week's featured Estate – an Estate that has been making wine for over 500 years. The latest chapter in the history book of Chateau Fombrauge was written in 1999 when it was purchased by Bernard Magrez, the owner of such iconic Châteaus as La Tour Carnet and Pape Clément, not to mention Château Clos Haut-Peyraguey - one of the premier sweet wine producers in Sauternes. After acquiring Chateau Fombrauge Bernard Magrez hired acclaimed Bordeaux-based wine consultant Michel Rolland to help tweak procedures in the vineyard and winery and help forge the next generation of Chateau Fombrauge wines.

As noted a few weeks ago, in Bordeaux the classic red wine is almost always a blend consisting of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc with Malbec, Carmenere or Petit Verdot sometimes blended in also. While the limestone and clay-rich soils of the right bank of the Gironde estuary are better suited for growing Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon is preferred in the left bank’s more gravelly soils.

This week's wine is a St-Emilion - a true 'Right Bank' Bordeaux – and therefore a wine one can expect to be Merlot heavy. The exact proportions of each grape variety varies from vintage to vintage with the 2012 Chateau Fombrauge consisting of 90% Merlot, 9% Cabernet Sauvignon and 1% Cabernet Franc. The grapes are all sourced from the Estate's 125 acres of vineyards. After sorting and crushing the wine undergoes alcoholic fermentation in temperature-controlled vats. The wine is then matured in oak barrels (30% new) for anywhere between 14 and 16 months.

The result is a delicious medium-plus bodied wine filled with ripe black and blue fruit. There is a core of savory herbs, earth and (surprising) minerality that runs through the wine with ripe, well-integrated tannins. A light grip on the mid-palate gives way to lingering dark cherries on the long finish. Good stuff.


Steffen Rasch is a Certified Sommelier and Specialist of Wine. Learn about wine in person by signing up for one of his tastings at the Providence Wine Academy.

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