Chateau Dalem Fronsac Bordeaux, Complete Guide


Learn everything about Chateau Dalem Fronsac with wine tasting notes and wine with food pairing tips. Learn the best vintages, a history of the property, information on the vineyards, and winemaking. If you want to read about other important, Bordeaux Chateaux:Links to all Bordeaux Wine Producer Profiles

Chateau Dalem History, Overview

Chateau Dalem is one of the oldest properties in Bordeaux. The estate originated all the way back in 1610. Chateau Dalem remained in the same family ownership until the vineyard was purchased by Michel Rullier in 1955.

Today, Chateau Dalem is managed by Brigitte Rullier-Loussert. Brigitte Rullier-Loussert took over managing the property in 2002. The Rullier family has long ties in the Bordeaux appellation.

Additionally, the family also owns two other estates aside from Chateau Dalem in the Right Bank including another vineyard in the Fronsac appellation, Chateau de la Huste. Chateau de la Huste has remained in the family’s hands since 1860. Brigitte Rullier-Loussert is also charge of managing Chateau de la Huste. They also produce Chateau La Longua, which is made from declassified grapes from both Chateau Dalem and Chateau de la Huste.

In 2019, Chateau Dalem completed the full renovation and modernization of their cellars and wine-making facilities. Sadly in February 2022, Michel Rullier passed away at the age of 94.

Chateau Dalem Vineyards, Terroir, Grapes, Winemaking

The 33-hectare vineyard of Chateau Dalem is planted to 90% Merlot, 95 Cabernet Franc, and 1% Malbec. This is a big change in the vineyards. First, the vineyard has increased in size since it was initially acquired. In fact, it has more than tripled in size since the family purchased the vineyard in 1955!

For the grape varietals planted, previously, the estate devoted 10% of the Chateau Dalem vineyard to Cabernet Sauvignon. Those vines have been removed and those parcels have been replaced with more Merlot.

The terroir is a mix of clay and limestone soils with south, by southeast facing exposures. The vineyard can be subdivided into 16 distinct parcels. The vines are old. On average, the vines are 45 years of age. The vineyard is planted to a vine density that ranges from 6,000 vines per hectare to 6,600 vines per hectare.

To produce the wine of Chateau Dalem, the wines are vinified in traditional, temperature-controlled, concrete vats. The vats range in size to allow for a parcel by parcel vinification.

Malolactic fermentation takes place in barrels. The wine of Chateau Dalem is aged in 60% new, French oak barrels for an average of 18 months before bottling. In 2008, the estate introduced a second wine, Tenation de Dalem. The average annual production of Chateau Dalem is close to 5,500 cases per vintage.

The best vintages of Chateau Dalem are: 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2012, 2010, 2009 and 2005.

When to Drink Chateau Dalem, Anticipated Maturity, Decanting Time

Chateau Dalem is much better with at least 2-4 years of aging in good vintages. Young vintages can be decanted for 1 hour to 90 minutes. This allows the wine to soften and open its perfume.

Older vintages might need very little decanting, just enough to remove the sediment. Chateau Dalem offers its best drinking and should reach peak maturity between 3-12 years of age after the vintage.

Serving Chateau Dalem with Wine, Food, Pairing Tips

Chateau Dalem is best served at 15.5 degrees Celsius, 60 degrees Fahrenheit. The cool, almost cellar temperature gives the wine more freshness and lift.

Chateau Dalem is best paired with all types of classic meat dishes, veal, pork, beef, lamb, duck, game, roast chicken, roasted, braised, and grilled dishes. Chateau Dalem is also good when matched with Asian dishes, hearty fish courses like tuna, mushrooms, and pasta.

Château Dalem Wine Tasting Notes

16 Vintages 63,445 Views Sort by Vintage-Rating

2020 Château Dalem  (Fronsac) 93

Licorice, espresso, chocolate covered plums, smoke and earthy aromas are what you initially notice. From there you find a boatload of silky, polished black and red fruits, coffee bean and cocoa that feels as good on your palate as it tastes. Fleshy, full-bodied, long and lusciously textured, this is already showing just great. With a few years of age, it is going to get even better. 92-94 Pts

1,474 Views   Tasted
2019 Château Dalem  (Fronsac) 94

Flowers, crushed rocks, smoke, licorice, cherry blossoms and dark red pit fruits are all over the nose and palate here. On the palate, the wine is even better due to all of its silky-textured, seductive, fresh, ripe, mineral-driven fruits. There is length, complexity and freshness with a finish that leaves you wanting more. This is one of the best values in Bordeaux. It is a purchase by the case wine that you can enjoy for 15 or more years with ease. This is probably the best vintage of Dalem I have ever tasted! Drink from 2022-2037. 94 Points

915 Views   Tasted

Dark in color, the wine is full-bodied, lush, rich and supple. On the palate, you find loads of sexy, juicy freshness, dark chocolate and fruit that hits it just right, and the wine sells for song. 91-93 Pts

3,594 Views   Tasted
2018 Château Dalem  (Fronsac) 94

Much better in bottle than in barrel, you can tell this is going to be great just from the nose with all its red, black and blue fruits, flowers, licorice and wet earth nuances. Sexy, silky, vibrant and fresh, the opulent character hits all the right notes. The wine is concentrated, rich and deep, with freshness giving lift to the non-stop layers of perfectly ripe fruits. The silk and velvet finish just nails it. This is the finest vintage of Dalem produced yet! The wine is made from a blend of 90% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Franc. 94 Points

2,317 Views   Tasted

Plush, round, ripe, fruity and delicious. Here, even with all this ripeness and density, the truffle, cocoa and ripe, black fruits shine through. The wine is made from a blend of 90% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Franc. 91-93 Pts

3,791 Views   Tasted
2017 Château Dalem  (Fronsac) 91

With a kiss of oak on the front end, the wine is deeply colored, round, fleshy, sweet, ripe, polished and fresh, leaving with plums, fennel and cocoa in the round finish. The wine is made from a blend of 90% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Franc. 91 Points

3,086 Views   Tasted
2016 Château Dalem  (Fronsac) 93

Dark in color, the wine exudes flowers, deep, red and black pit fruits, silky textures, balance, freshness and length. The silky textured finish brings everything together. 93 Points

3,052 Views   Tasted

Dark in color, the dark chocolate, licorice and black cherry and vibrant, fresh, sweet and just, frankly, delicious in this blend of 80% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Franc. 91 Points

5,294 Views   Tasted
2015 Château Dalem  (Fronsac) 93

Soft, silky, fresh and plush, this feels great on the palate, has length and complexity. Plus it sells for a song for a wine of this quality! You can drink this young, or age it for over a decade. 93 Points

3,554 Views   Tasted

Pure bottled pleasure, with its silky, opulent textures, rich, ripe fruits and licorice coated black cherry finish, this is probably the best wine I've tasted yet from Dalem. 92 Points

3,875 Views   Tasted
2014 Château Dalem  (Fronsac) 89

Spicy, smoky, cocoa dusted plums, with a forward, easy drinking, soft, ripe, spicy, supple berry and licorice filled charm. 88-90 Pts

2,201 Views   Tasted
2013 Château Dalem  (Fronsac) 87

Soft, easy going, open and already drinkable, with its fresh, light red berry character. 86-88 Pts

2,784 Views   Tasted
2012 Château Dalem  (Fronsac) 89

A screaming value, with its plush, round, textures, ripe, juicy, black plums, licorice and round, textures. 89 Points

2,365 Views   Tasted

Medium-bodied with a crisp red berry and anise-filled personality, this will drink well on release. 87-89 Pts

2,790 Views   Tasted
2011 Château Dalem  (Fronsac) 88

Fennel, earth, plums and oak scents, medium bodied, fresh, bright red and black plums are found in the finish. 87-89 Pts

2,007 Views   Tasted
2010 Château Dalem  (Fronsac) 90

A solid Bordeaux value wine with loads of ripe black cherries, hints of vanilla, earth, licorice, jam and black raspberries. The wine is forward, lush, fun to taste and well priced. 90 Points

4,491 Views   Tasted
2009 Château Dalem  (Fronsac) 89

Licorice, smoke, coffee, jammy plum and blackberry scents open to a rich textured, plush, full bodied wine, packed with loads of ripe, boysenberry and chocolate. This open, round, polished, value Bordeaux wine is already offering pleasure. 89 Points

4,115 Views   Tasted
2008 Château Dalem  (Fronsac) 87

No need to age this another day. This is on the brighter, fresher, red berry side of the style range, with more crisp, berries than usual. Medium bodied and ready to go, drink this sooner than later. 87 Points

1,959 Views   Tasted
2006 Château Dalem  (Fronsac) 87

From a blend of 90% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Franc, this open, accessible, medium bodied, easy going wine is filled with black raspberry, cocoa and licorice. 87 Points

1,899 Views   Tasted
2005 Château Dalem  (Fronsac) 88

Fully mature, round, soft and ready to deliver all of its black cherry, smoke, licorice and earthy charm. 88 Points

3,743 Views   Tasted
2000 Château Dalem  (Fronsac) 89

Fully mature, which is as you should expect, as it approaches its 20th birthday in a few years. Truffle, tobacco, cherry and licorice, with spices are right where you want them. Round, soft, but starting to slowly fade, it's best to drink this over next few years. 89 Points

4,139 Views   Tasted