wines of Bernard Magrez
Part 3: Château Fombrauge, St Emilion
Perenne, we flew be helicopter over the Pomerol and St Emilion, the
famous appellations of the right bank (above). It looks very
different to the left bank, which is dominated by large, grand Châteaux.
St Emilion and Pomerol are on a smaller scale. It was particularly
thrilling to fly over the picturesque town of St Emilion (below),
which looked beautiful in the warm tones of the late afternoon
destination was the picture-perfect estate of Château
Fombrauge. At 58 hectares under vine, Fombrauge is apparently the
biggest estate in St Emilion, and has had a variety of owners in its
400 year history, before Bernard Magrez purchased it in 1999.
typical of an old property in the area: a central house, with two
wings – originally, one would have been for the animals and one
for the domestic staff. Bernard Magrez has spent a lot of money
renovating both the vineyards and the buildings. Eric Bardon, the
winemaker here explained that the goal was to raise the quality of
the wines to a Grand Cru Classé standard. Tourists can stay here,
and the guest rooms are beautifully fitted out.
is at the edge of the St Emilion appellation. There are three main
parcels of vines, one of which has calcareous soils and is three
kilometres from the Château.
1950s an important archaeological site was discovered in this area,
dating from 600 BC. Then, in 2004, the archaeologists dug at
Fombrauge, making some important findings.
we visited, the winemaking team were just pressing off the last of
the 2008 reds (above). The following week, the wine would go into
new barrels. 18 different cooperages are represented at Frombrauge,
which has some 800 barrels in the cellar. Elevage in barrel is
14–18 months, and the 2007s were still in barrel when we visited.
The cellar: very Magrez, with small wooden fermentation vats,
similar to those at other properties he owns
Lush, aromatic, slightly floral berry and dark cherry nose. The
palate is lush yet fresh with lovely focused bright berry fruit and
spicy complexity. Good tannic structure under the fruit. For
Ripe, sweet aromatic nose with lush cherry and berry fruit, as
well as a hint of spice. The palate is ripe and lush with dense
fruit and some grippy tannins. An intriguing mix of sweet fruit and
firm structure. 90/100
Deep coloured. Smooth, focused sweet dark fruits nose is tight
with pure raspberry and blackberry fruit, as well as some lushness.
Super-concentrated palate has masses of pure, focused fruit with
lovely structure. Freshness allied with ripeness and concentration.
Lush but firm. 94/100
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