It is impossible to visit the Bordeaux region and not stumble across Château Fonréaud. Well, on second thoughts it is possible if you restrict yourself to visiting only St Emilion, Pomerol, Graves and Pessac-Léognan. But who would come to Bordeaux without venturing north, up the Médoc peninsula, to the famed appellations of St Estèphe, Pauillac, St Julien and Margaux? Not to mention Listrac-Médoc and Moulis-en-Médoc. Not me. And probably not you.
While many cru bourgeois châteaux are shrinking violets, small maisons and even smaller cellars, tucked well out of the way in the wilds of the Haut-Médoc and Médoc appellations, this is not a description that can be applied to Château Fonréaud. This imposing château occupies the most commanding position possible atop a small mountain overlooking the main road running north out of Bordeaux, en route for those famous left-bank appellations. Admittedly, by ‘mountain’ I really mean a small hillock, rising to just 43 metres above sea level, but on the Médoc that is a mountain. Indeed, I am told it is the highest point on the entire peninsula, and I have no inclination to disagree.
I have driven up and down this road – and past Château Fonréaud – so many times that it is frankly unforgivable that I have not profiled this château before now. A meeting in late 2021 with Loïc Chanfreau, one of two brothers now gradually prising control of the property from his parents, made me resolve to right this wrong. So I hereby present an account of Château Fonréaud, its history, vineyards and wines, and of course all my tasting notes.