Château de Fonbel
Ask any aficionado of Bordeaux for their take on Château de Fonbel and I think you will get, from the majority of respondents, a fairly consistent response. First, there will be a twinkle in the eye, as thoughts of both quality and value enter the mind. Such a combination feels rare in Bordeaux these days, although I think such a conclusion only comes about because we are all so obsessed with the top-ranking cru classé châteaux, while elsewhere whole appellations go overlooked. Acknowledging this, any wine that might fit the ‘value’ bill is still certain to strike a chord.
Second, there will come forth the few nuggets of information on this domaine that everybody knows. It excites not just because of quality and value, but because it also provides a window onto an exalted parallel universe, one in which we can all afford to drink Château Ausone. Nugget number one is as follows; the two wines are made by the same individual, for many years Alain Vauthier although in recent years his daughter, Pauline Vauthier, has been more likely to take the reins. And nugget number two is this; the vines are, err, somewhere near Château Ausone, aren’t they? Yes? No? Maybe?
And, with that half-statement-half-question, I suspect we have already exhausted our collective knowledge of this much-drunk but little-discussed estate. In this profile I intend to put right, as best I can, this long-standing insult to Château de Fonbel.