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Château Fombrauge: Tasting Notes

Château Fombrauge: Tasting & Drinking

Any discussion of the wine made at Château Fombrauge can only pertain to those made during the Magrez era, as I have no experience of the estate prior to his purchase of the vineyards in 1999. Anyone familiar with the style of Magrez wines, perhaps from encounters with a wine from one of his many other domaines, will probably be able to pre-empt any comments I make. These other domaines include Château La Tour Carnet, Château Les Grands Chênes, Château Pape-Clément and numerous others (several dozen in Bordeaux alone I believe).

The Magrez style is characterised by inky-dark colours and strong extraction, and perhaps Château Pape-Clément is the archetype for understanding this. The wines of other châteaux are moulded in very much the same vein, and Château Fombrauge is no exception. These are wines rich in sweet fruit flavours in their youth, all damson, smoky cherry and sooty plum, the more savoury edges coming hand-in-hand with a dark, tannin-laden structure. These are not light and easy wines, but are rich and substantial, plushly textured, and they require time in the cellar to integrate if they are to reveal their true charms, I think.

That said, in the right frame of mind, these wines can be very attractive. Although they are not lily-livered wines neither do they tend to show the sur-maturité and baked fruit character that can be found just along the Côte de Pavie. Indeed, I have certainly enjoyed one or two bottles consumed in their youth. With a huge vineyard, and consequently a large volume of production, when knocking around Bordeaux for a week or two it is not exactly difficult to pick up a bottle here or there for drinking. When I have done so, they have usually served me well. Just don’t expect to be able to pour the wine alongside more delicate cuisines. (11/2/16)

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