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Bordeaux 2019: Fronsac

Written by JW. Posted in Bordeaux

Fronsac has made stylish, powerful Bordeaux in 2019. The quality of this appellation is always high and the top properties here have made a thrilling set of wines. Château Dalem is super serious. It is full of plum and blackcurrant fruit and is inky and substantial. Château de la Dauphine is more obviously lush and glossy. The fruit tones are beautiful and the tannins silky. Château La Vieille Cure is really impressive as usual. With its characteristic spicy Cabernet influenced aromatics, it displays great purity and freshness, but also concentration and intensity. Behind these qualitatively, but still providing much joy, are Château de la Rivière and Château Villars. Both are pretty bold, jam-packed with fruit and extract, and have evidently succeeded in the vintage.

The following samples were sent by Le Grand Cercle and tasted in June. Hope you find the notes useful. These 2019s remind me just how wonderful Fronsac is as an appellation. It provides really impressive Bordeaux that won’t break the bank. Excellent wines were also produced here in 2018, 2017, 2016 and 2015.

Château Dalem, Fronsac, 2019

Very deeply coloured in the glass; lots of fruit and focus here; quite serious; little tight to start with despite the obvious depth; classy; opens up well; palate inky and intense but has savoury character and style; like this; fruit is sturdy and substantial; some chocolate in the finish; nice narrative; linear but works towards a fresh finish. Very good. Later the wine really opened up, showing complexity and depth, with spicy blackcurrant notes, and real class. Great stuff from Dalem in this vintage. Glossy, polished and intense. Really well done. [Vineyard 85% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Franc]. Tasted June 2020. Drink 2025-2035. 91-93+

Château de la Dauphine, Fronsac, 2019

Deep; opaque at centre; fresh at edge; layers of fruit on the nose; composed; ripe; plenty of extract and polish here; ball of fruit which is nicely handled; some tightness initially but opens up wonderfully; moreish; opens in the glass; lots of sweet ripe fruit; layered; poised, stylish wine with lovely texture to the tannins. Very flavoursome with fat, creamy fruit in the middle. Be interesting to see this against Dalem down the track. Super purity here. [Blend 85% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Franc]. Tasted June 2020. Drink 2024-2035. 91-93+

Château de la Rivière, Fronsac, 2019

Deep and dark; serious looking; lots of ripe fruit and extract on the nose; full; some chocolate; inky and intense; some cabernet influence here; spices; chocolate and mocha notes; some chew to the tannins; some grip on the end. Gutsy. Less refined than Dalem and La Dauphine but has plenty of chunky fruit. [Blend 85% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc, 4% Cabernet Sauvignon, 1% Malbec]. Tasted June 2020. Drink 2024-2032. 88-90

Château La Vieille Cure, Fronsac, 2019

Deep and arterial; purple at edge; jam packed with fruits; really intense; some savoury notes; leafy Cab Franc intensity; love this; full and intense on the palate; this is great stuff; really has wonderful texture on the palate; inky fruit but also life and freshness; caressing with some pretty perfumed notes; quite weighty but works well in 2019. [Vineyard 75% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc, 5% Cabernet Sauvignon]. Tasted June 2020. Drink 2025-2038. 91-93+

Château Villars, Fronsac, 2019

Deep and dark; colour tight to rim; big and full; chocolate on the nose; full of black fruit and plum tones; some prunes too; lots of extract and matter; lacks a bit of zip but has lots of extract and ripe tannin. Big here with texture and layers. [Vineyard 83% Merlot, 11% Cabernet Franc, 6% Cabernet Sauvignon]. Tasted June 2020. Drink 2024-2035. 88-90

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