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Bordeaux 2015: Fronsac and Canon-Fronsac

Written by JW. Posted in Bordeaux

DSC02924There is elegance and sophistication in Fronsac and Canon-Fronsac in 2015. These appellations don’t produce the kind of ripe blockbusters you find in St Emilion or Castillon, but there is genuine grace and refinement here. These are wines that put on weight during elévage but often seem thoughtful and pensive early on. The picks for me tasted blind at the Grand Cercle event organised at Château Bellefont-Belcier were Château Barrabaque in Canon-Fronsac and Château Dalem, Château Fontenil, Château Moulin Haut-Laroque, Château Les Trois Croix and Château Villars in Fronsac. All these wines have ample fruit, structure and plenty of style. Château La Vieille Cure usually does very well in Fronsac but the sample I tasted felt odd to me and I didn’t have the time to taste an alternate sample unfortunately.

Château Barrabaque, Canon-Fronsac

Deep and saturated; opaque at centre; colour tight to the rim; little reductive on the nose; attractive fresh plummy fruit with some blackcurrant tones beneath; opens up in the glass; has purity and freshness; vibrant fruit; quite stalky and backward [a slightly reductive sample]; good elegance; purity and freshness. Nice sap on the finish. Should come together nicely. [80% Merlot, 18% Cabernet Franc, 2% Malbec]. Drink 2019-2025. 88-90+

Château Dalem, Fronsac

Bold look; deep and opaque; liquorice and tar with some plums; intense and lots of fruit; modern style/oak influenced; black chocolate; pretty tight; compact; needs to uncoil; freshness; little reticent; chew and texture; mineral notes with some black chocolate at the back. [90% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc]. Drink 2020-2025. 88-90+

Château Fontenil, Fronsac

Deep and bold looking; opaque centre; ripe and lifted strawberry/red fruit aromatics; attractive with sweetness; clean; mineral quality; full and sturdy; nice fruit and purity in a more mineral style; bit of wood and austerity on the finish; has length and some depth. [90% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc]. Drink 2019-2025. 88-90

Château Gaby, Canon-Fronsac

Mid depth; strawberry and raisin note; little fig; lifted; easy; lifted; sweet and almost super ripe notes here; palate little stretched but should fill in; simple red really and quite soft and forward in style. Some fruit evident on the finish. Easy. [80% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Cabernet Franc]. Drink 2019-2023. 85-87

Haut-Carles, Fronsac

Bold and super saturated look; ripe and sweet; some sweet plum and figs; little raisin note; late picked fruit; perhaps a little stewed; sweet fruit; simple wine; bit one dimensional at present; soft and easy but not that much complexity yet for for me. Easy. Chocolate on the finish. [90% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc, 5% Malbec]. Drink 2019-2025. 85-87

Château Moulin Haut-Laroque, Fronsac

Mid depth; purple at edge; ripe; some marzipan; spices and plum; nice freshness here; little lifted; bit pinched aromatically; palate clean; cool fruit; soft and quite caressing; nicely composed; freshness; nicely vinous; elegant style; works well overall. [65% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Malbec]. Drink 2019-2025. 87-89+

Château Moulin Pey-Labrie, Canon-Fronsac

Mid depth; lighter than many of the previous Côtes de Bordeaux samples tasted immediately before; reddish purple meniscus; more fruit driven aromatics; some red fruit tones; strawberry; little jam; ripe; soft and easy; ripe strawberry tones; lacks a bit of middle. Elegant style that should fill out during elévage. Goodish. [95% Merlot, 5% Malbec]. Drink 2019-2025. 86-88+

Château de la Rivière, Fronsac

Mid depth; solid; colour pretty tight to rim; chocolate; little reticent; wood; some apparent depth; little lift; fruit is fresh and complete; little austerity at the edge [the wood]; needs to integrate but fruit coves the wood here; some black chocolate on the finish; little pinched at present. [84% Merlot, 8% Cabernet Franc, 6% Cabernet Sauvignon, 2% Malbec]. Drink 2019-2025. 84-86

Château Les Trois Croix, Fronsac

Mid depth; pretty opaque; ripe fruit and liquorice notes; modern; sweet ripe fruit; glossy and seductive; mid bodied; fresh and not extracted; some coffee and chew; needs to fill out a little on the mid palate but good effort. Fine. [80% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc]. Drink 2019-2025. 86-88+

Château La Vieille Cure, Fronsac

Deep and saturated; colour tight to the rim; little Cabernet Franc spices; earthy note; Cab influenced? Little bretty or is this the terroir? Feels a little pinched on the finish; bit bretty to me. [need re-taste?] Dry finish. Poor sample? [75% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc, 5% Cabernet Sauvignon]. NR

Château Villars, Fronsac

Mid depth; healthy looking; neutral; some depth; little spice and cashmere at the edge; opens up in the glass; minerality and fruit; spices; attractive sweet palate with spices; open and round; almost caressing note; easy; good length and spicy/satin finish. [83% Merlot, 11% Cabernet Franc, 6% Cabernet Sauvignon]. Drink 2019-2025. 88-90+

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