Everything about Chateau Fontenil Fronsac Bordeaux wine producer profile, with wine tasting notes, wine and food pairings, best vintages, wine ratings, a history of the property, information on wine making and terroir, along with wine tasting reviews. If you want to read about other important, Bordeaux Chateaux: Links to all Bordeaux Wine Producer Profiles
Chateau Fontenil History, Overview
Chateau Fontenil, located in the Fronsac appellation in the Right Bank of Bordeaux was purchased by Michel and Danny Rolland in 1986. Their original intention was just to buy a home. They were not looking for a vineyard as well. But they loved the house and as the vines came with it, the took on the added responsibilities of creating a new estate as well.
Michel Rolland and Dany Rolland spent the next 13 years completely modernizing and rebuilding the entire Fronsac estate of Chateau Fontenil. Everything needed work from top to bottom. This included renovating the chateau, the winery and all its wine making facilities. Their work at Chateau Fontenil also required them to replant a massive part of their vineyards.
Chateau Fontenil Vineyards, Terroir, Grapes, Winemaking
The 9 hectare Chateau Fontenil Bordeaux vineyard can be difficult to find, if you do not know the area well, especially driving at night, as I learned the hard way. However, clearly it is well situated in the Fronsac appellation. Located at the highest elevation on the plateau of Fronsac, the vineyard is planted to 90% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon. The terroir is clay and limestone soils with their best parcels having a southern exposure. The vines are old. In fact, most of the vines are close to 45 years of age. On average, the chateau produces close to 3,500 cases of Chateau Fontenil Bordeaux wine per year.
Traditionally, the wine of Chateau Fontenil is vinified in a combination of small, temperature controlled, wood and stainless steel vats. Starting in 2010, 20% of the production is now being whole cluster fermented. The fruit that is whole cluster fermented is now vinified in new, French oak barrels. Malolactic fermentation is carried out in 60% new, French oak barrels. Chateau Fontenil is aged in 60% new, French oak barrels.
There is a second wine, Filet Rouge. Aside from their Fronsac property Chateau Fontenil, Michel Rolland and Dany Rolland also own and produce Rolland Maillet, Bertineau St Vincent and La Grande Clotte Blanc, which while the vines are planted in Lussac St. Emilion, the wine is sold as a white Bordeaux blanc.
Serving and Decanting Chateau Fontenil with Wine, Food, Pairing Tips
Chateau Fontenil is best served at 15.5 degrees Celsius, 60 degrees Fahrenheit. The cool, almost cellar temperature gives the wine more freshness and lift. Young vintages can be decanted for up to 1 hour. This allows the wine to soften and open its perfume. Older vintages might need very little decanting, just enough to remove the sediment. Chateau Fontenil is best paired with all types of classic meat dishes, veal, pork, beef, lamb, duck, game, roast chicken, roasted braised and grilled dishes. Chateau Fontenil is also good when matched with Asian dishes, rich fish courses like tuna, mushrooms and pasta.
The estate also produces Le Defi de Fontenil, which made its debut in 1999. In 2000, 2001 and 2004, the wine of Le Le Defi de Fontenil was sold as a Vin de Table, due to its special vineyard management techniques in those vintages. The grapes used to produce Le Defi de Fontenil were sheltered from the rain by the use of placing plastic sheets between the rows of vines. Because that was viewed as a violation of appellation laws, they were not allowed state the wine from from Fronsac. All subsequent vintages of Le Defi de Fontenil have been labeled as Fronsac. Starting with the 2008 vintage, Le Defi de Fontenil has been produced using 100% micro-vinification techniques, meaning that the wine was vinified and aged completely in barrel.
Château Fontenil Wine Tasting Notes
13 Vintages 31962 Views Sort Vintage Rating
2016 Le Defi de Fontenil ( Fronsac)
Inky in color, with gobs of dark chocolate covered black raspberries, licorice, espresso and wet earth. The wine is concentrated, deep, dark, and rich. The fruit is ripe, pure and juicy, which you can really taste in the long, opulent finish. Made from 100% old vine Merlot, which varies in age from 80 to 100 years of age, this is Le Defi Fontenil yet produced by Dany Rolland and Michel Rolland. Le Defi Fontenil is not made in every vintage, it is reserved for only the top vintages.
Apr 29, 2017points - Tasted 613 Views
2016 Château Fontenil ( Fronsac)
Deep in color, the fruits are fresh, with sweet, juicy, dark, red berries, silky tannins and loads of juicy, blackberries to make the finish a treat.
Apr 29, 2017points - Tasted 506 Views
2015 Le Defi de Fontenil ( Fronsac)
Inky in color, with loads of dark, ripe, sweet fruits, freshness, black licorice, minerality and length, finishing with loads of ripe, lush, juicy fruit. Le Defi Fontenil is only produced in the best vintages.
Apr 29, 2016points - Tasted 1007 Views
2015 Château Fontenil ( Fronsac)
Supple textures, soft and silky, with fresh, sweet plums, black cherries, and juicy, chocolate covered fruits in the finish. This should be quite tasty on release.
Apr 29, 2016points - Tasted 1338 Views
2014 Château Fontenil ( Fronsac)
Soft, silky and easy to like, with a supple textured, sweet, plum and chocolate charm. 89-91 Pts
May 1, 2015points - Tasted 1660 Views
2013 Château Fontenil ( Fronsac)
Black raspberry, flowers, fennel and oak in character, the dark chocolate and cherry dominated wine is easy to like and even easier to drink. 87-89 Pts
May 1, 2014points - Tasted 2032 Views
2012 Château Fontenil ( Fronsac)
Oak, black and red fruits with fleshy textures and sweet, jammy cherries are found in this Michel and Dany Rolland-owned wine. 88-90 Pts
Apr 26, 2013points - Tasted 1826 Views
2011 Château Fontenil ( Fronsac)
From 95% Merlot and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon, this simple, but fun, round Merlot will be a pleasure to enjoy young. 86-88 Pts
Apr 20, 2012points - Tasted 1800 Views
2010 Château Fontenil ( Fronsac)
A great example of Bordeaux value wines at its best. Lots of plush, plum, sweet, ripe, black raspberries, plum, espresso bean, earth and cocoa notes, round tannins and a sweet, chocolately black cherry finish that is already fun to drink.
Mar 11, 2014points - Tasted 3990 Views
2009 Château Fontenil ( Fronsac)
Blending mostly Merlot with 5% Cabernet Sauvignon produced a dark colored wine with blackberry, blueberry, vanilla, cocoa, jam and earthy scents. In the mouth, the wine is supple, forward and ends with round textured, jammy black cherry and plum. 2009 Fontenil can be enjoyed now, or aged for 5 - 8 years.
Jul 1, 2012points - Tasted 3822 Views
2008 Château Fontenil ( Fronsac)
Licorice, espresso, spice and black cherry scents, medium/full bodied with a soft textured, fennel covered, black cherry and vanilla finish.
Oct 1, 2011points - Tasted 1840 Views
2005 Château Fontenil ( Fronsac)
Fully mature, this luscious, round, supple round, with its smoke, licorice, plum and earthy profile shows how well the best wines of Fronsac can age.
Apr 16, 2016points - Tasted 2711 Views
Filled with fresh herbs and juicy plums, this soft textured wine is open and giving a lot of pleasure today with its supple, red berry personality.
Mar 12, 2012points - Tasted 3440 Views
With aromas of black licorice, black raspberries, dark cherry, coffee, stone and chocolate, this round, soft, sweet Bordeaux wine is already showing well. From a blend of 90% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, the wine ends with supple textures a long, chocolate covered black raspberry finish.
Oct 1, 2011points - Tasted 3927 Views
2001 Château Fontenil ( Fronsac)
Fully mature, with a smoky, thyme, black cherry, plum, mocha and floral nose, the wine is round, fleshy, soft and ready for easy going, prime time drinking. This well-priced charmer is ready for drinking. Pop, pour and enjoy.
Sep 24, 2016points - Tasted 1450 Views