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Bordeaux 2016: Fronsac and Canon-Fronsac

Written by JW. Posted in Bordeaux

2016 looks to be a very good vintage in Fronsac and Canon-Fronsac. These wines traditionally have more sinew and elegance than some of the other right bank districts. The vintage plays to these strengths. The fruit qualities are attractive, nicely fresh and aromatic. These are nimble wines, not in the least overblown, but with good depth, fine acidity and very attractive texture to the tannins. The picks? There is good homogeneity here, but at the very top end Château Dalem, Château de la Dauphine, Haut Carles, Château Moulin Haut Laroque, Château de la Rivière and Château La Viellle Cure look excellent in Fronsac as does the well-known Château Gaby in Canon-Fronsac.

The following wines were tasted blind at the Grand Cercle event [way] back in primeurs week in April at Château Montlabert [pictured above]. As usual the notes are more important than the numbers. Unfortunately my publishing of #Bdx16 notes has been somewhat erratic this year owing to pressure of work and a film I’ve been working on. Next up Lalande de P0merol in 2016…

Château Dalem, Fronsac, 2016

Mid depth; dark; quite tight to the rim; violets; some depth & layers; nicely attractive; plum; black cherry; ripe entry – nice wine; good depth – nice purity; good violet qualities; with balance and harmony. Zap on the finish. Like this. Nice sap. [16ha 85% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Franc]. Tasted Grand Cercle 1/4/17. Drink 2020-2028. 90-92+

Château de la Dauphine, Fronsac, 2016

Deeper at core; spices; some chocolate; little dumb initially then opened up a little with some red fruits; little undergrowth; palate more open; good entry; attractive purity; good fruit tones – ripe cherry and plum especially; good texture and acidity. This is nicely done. Will work well. [53ha, 90% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc]. Tasted Grand Cercle 1/4/17. Drink 2020-2028. 88-90+

Château Fontenil, Fronsac, 2016

Mid depth; tight to the edge; legs; little earthy note on the nose; yoghurt; spices; quite attractive; had good depth and vibrancy; nice vibrancy; quite strong acidity [seemingly despite the owners] but plenty of fruit. Sappy. [9ha, 100% Merlot]. Tasted Grand Cercle 1/4/17. Drink 2020-2026. 87-89

Château Gaby, Canon-Fronsac, 2016

Mid depth; Bordeaux on the nose; some stalks and satin; little resin; this should be good; some cherry; nice violet tone; very well balanced – will make good wine. Moreish. [16ha 80% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Cabernet Franc]. Tasted Grand Cercle 1/4/17. Drink 2020-2028. 90-92+

Haut Carles, Fronsac, 2016

Opaque at centre; little jam; strawberry and red fruit tones; some depth and purity; lots of black cherry fruit; nice and attractive; nice entry; attractive fruit; well handled; good texture; will work well; impressive. Nice sappy freshness and twist of acidity. [7ha, 90% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc, 5% Malbec]. Tasted Grand Cercle 1/4/17. Drink 2020-28. 90-92+

Château Moulin Haut-Laroque, Fronsac, 2016

Deep at centre; purple at edge; nice extract; some violet; black cherry; sweet entry; pure palate; this will work; nicely done; quite classy purity; good finish. Good show. Strong acidity on the finish. [16ha, 65% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Malbec]. Tasted Grand Cercle 1/4/17. Drink 2020-2028. 90-92+

Château Moulin Pey-Labrie, Canon-Fronsac, 2016

Mid depth; reddy purple at edge; strawberry fruits; red fruits; quite lush and forward; plum and cherry; palate positive; sweet and fresh; some satin; ripe; quite acid and sappy on the finish [very much so]. Positive though. [7ha, 95% Merlot, 5% Malbec]. Tasted Grand Cercle 1/4/17. Drink 2019-2024. 85-87

Château de la Rivière, Fronsac, 2016

Mid depth; clean; some blackcurrant fruit; nice depth; elegance; some nice Cabernet influence here; ripe entry; fresh fruit; sour cherry some plum; some acidity; nicely balanced – not puckering. [65ha, 84% Merlot, 8% Cabernet Franc, 6% Cabernet Sauvignon]. Tasted Grand Cercle 1/4/17. Drink 2020-2028. 89-91+

Château Les Trois Croix, Fronsac, 2016

Mid depth; dark at core; candy; satin; quite fresh fruit; ripe cherry with nice acidity; life and bounce; lacks some concentration but may fill out; attractive sappy on the finish. [15ha, 80% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc]. Tasted Grand Cercle 1/4/17. Drink 2020-2025. 86-88

Château La Viellle Cure, Fronsac, 2016

Deep at centre; tight to edge; little earth; some Cabernet Franc influence; attractive; elegant entry; good fruit; strong acidity; nice sinew and balance; will work well; elegant but has length, sinew and acidity. Will develop nicely [18ha, 75% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc, 5% Cabernet Sauvignon]. Tasted Grand Cercle 1/4/17. Drink 2020-2028. 90-92+ [second tasting]: Vibrant at edge; deep and centre; quite solid; some earthy tones [Cab Franc?]; attractive; sweet entry to the palate; nice stuff; balanced; well proportioned. Has elegance. Nice plummy fruit tones with some blackcurrant influence. Nicely done. Good Fronsac. Tasted at Jean-Luc Thunevin 1/4/17. Drink 2020-2028. 90-92

Château Villars, Fronsac, 2016

Mid depth; some ripe cherry; reasonable depth; nice sweet entry; good fresh fruit – cherry and plum; fresh acidity; perhaps a little fresh at the end in terms of grip; should work nicely. [30ha, 83% Merlot, 11% Cabernet Franc, 6% Cabernet Sauvignon]. Tasted Grand Cercle 1/4/17. Drink 2019-2025. 86-88+

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