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Bordeaux 2018: Fronsac & Canon Fronsac

Written by JW. Posted in Bordeaux

The wines of Fronsac should be on every Bordeaux lover’s list. There have been some terrific successes here in 2014, 2015 and 2016 and 2018 joins these vintages as an exciting one for the appellations of Fronsac and Canon-Fronsac. I’m always struck by the homogeneity of these appellations, year in, year out. Despite the difficulties of the 2018 vintage – a growing season with an extremely wet first half, followed by the sunny and dry second half – there are a great number of wines in Fronsac that are outstanding. These should also offer good value to the consumer en primeur. If some of the wines lack a little bit of tension in terms of acidity, the tannins are beautifully ripe and the lush fruit present makes many of these irresistible.

The following were tasted blind at the Grand Cercle event at Château de La Dauphine in Fronsac and in the cellars of Jean-Luc Thunevin in St Emilion in April 2018.

Château de Carles, Fronsac

Deep; red/purple at edge; attractive fruit; clean; briary and some undergrowth; nicely satin fruit; mid depth; middle not as strong as super cuvée Haut-Carles but good Fronsac nevertheless. Drink 2022-2028. 88-90+

Château Dalem, Fronsac

Deepish – little lighter at the end some; ripe and satisfying aromatics; full and open; sweet; sweet entry; lovely ripe fruit; not extracted; satin quality; full mid palate; lacks a bit of acidity but will be forward and enjoyable. Texture on the finish. Drink 2023-2030. 89-91

Château de La Dauphine, Fronsac

Deep and super saturated; little subdued; ripe; little satin quality; some nuts; has purity; nice palate; lacks the matter and super depth of some but the palate is harmonious. Comes together in the narrative. Will work well. Drink 2023-2030. 89-91

Château Fontenil, Fronsac

Deep colour; dark core; red purple edge; ripe and full; plums; some blackcurrant; very nice fruit; attractive; real seam of creamy black fruit; sexy; sweet ripe entry; lovely fruit; seductive and soft but plenty of extract; creamy tannins; supple. Easy but has depth. Works really well. Nice texture on the finish. May merit higher score. Drink 2022-2030. 90-92+

Château Gaby, Canon-Fronsac

Deep colour; dark core; legs; little savoury edge along with the black cherry; some dark chocolate; full entry; eau de vie; black fruits; some savoury notes; lots of elements; has texture and some length on the finish; dark chocolate notes. Good stuff again. Drink 2023-2030. 90-92+

Château Moulin Haut-Laroque, Fronsac

Deep colour; tight to rim; dark centre; legs; ripe and rich; some fruitcake and spices; rich; attractive sweetness; creamy blackcurrants and ripe fruits; plenty of extract but not over extracted; tannins supple; soft finish. Nice texture. Drink 2022-2028. 89-91

Château Moulin Pey-Labrie, Canon-Fronsac

Deep colour; lush; forward black fruits and jam which surge from the glass; ripe cherry and some red jam notes [not unattractive]; plenty going on; quite extracted on the entry initially; needs to settle; driest sample so far; feels over extracted now; little dry. Combination of oak and extraction. Chewy finish. Has the elements, palate needs to settle. Drink 2022-2028. 87-88

Château de la Rivière, Fronsac

Deep colour; some fruitcake spice and some nutty notes at edge; opens up really well with more savoury tones; nice entry; blackcurrants with some cool tones; like this; definitely feels Cabernet influenced [Franc and Sauvignon]; stylish palate; very refined. Savoury with inky tones. Really nice length. Well done. Plenty of matter. Drink 2023-2032. 90-92+

Château Les Trois Croix, Fronsac

Deeply coloured; inky look; colour tight to the rim; ambitious and deep; focused and layered; integrated black fruits; some liquorice; ripe black cherry; plum; [deep]; like the palate; tightly focused and precise seam of fruit; quite excellent; really polish effort and very complete on the palate with plenty of middle; touch of salinity too; very well-mannered and refined. Nice fruit on the finish with genuine length. Complete and excellent. Drink 2022-2030. 91-93+

Château La Vielle Cure, Fronsac

Deep and rich; saturated look; creamy; some savoury Cabernet Franc notes; attractive; earthy Fronsac; full and layered; sweet ripe entry; full; sweet; lush; supple; really soft and harmonious but with plenty of extract. Has lots of matter. Chew on the finish. Will work well in 5+ years. Very good length. Extract is considerable. Drink 2023-2032. 91-93+

Château Villars, Fronsac

Deep colour; fine; some perfume; wet rocks and stones; reserved; needs to open up [it’s a baby of course] but clearly focused; full entry; sweet ripe fruit; again nicely focused; ball of tightly wound fruit; tannins feel supple; nicely done. Nice chew on the finish. Drink 2022-2030. 90-91+

Haut-Carles, Fronsac

Deep and saturated; ripe; lifted and sexy; unctuously styled; black fruits; spices; sweetness; pretty deep and very, very lush: some fruits of the forest; like this; works well aromatically; lush entry; lots of material and ripe fruit; also oak; has plenty of flesh. Inky and super saturated but works well. Drink 2024-2035. 91-93+

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