Château Magrez Fombrauge: Tasting & Drinking

With approximately 4 hectares in total, planted in not-quite equal proportions to red and white varieties, this is not one of Bordeaux’s most expansive vineyards. Indeed, this is tiny, about the same size as the vineyard at Château Lafleur. Even though the wine is considerably less expensive than that made by the Guinaudeau family, they are certainly no less commonly encountered.

As a consequence my encounters with the wines of this estate have largely been confined to my tastings of the Bernard Magrez portfolio during the annual primeurs tastings. Putting the generally dismal 2013 vintage to one side, the wines have some appealing characteristics, provided one’s palate and mind is attuned to the Magrez-Rolland house style, which can be traced through all of the wines made in Bernard Magrez’s name. This means – looking specifically at the reds, obviously – the wines are dark, inky and opaque, and feature similarly dark flavours, creamed black fruits, often smothered in an expensive dressing of oak. The palate seems to tend towards a bold, tannin-rich style, hardly a surprise once you have caught sight of the wine. It is enough to put those averse to the rich, modern, Rolland-influenced right-bank style off I am sure, but I know from tasting the wines with a few more years in bottle they do become more approachable. My one complaint is that there is a ‘sameness’ running through the portfolio, and I sometimes wonder if I were presented with a blind tasting of the Magrez wines whether I would be able to tell the difference between the likes of Château Fombrauge, Château Magrez Fombrauge and the other Magrez estates, such as Château La Tour Carnet or Château Les Grands Chênes.

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