Chateau Fonbel St. Emilion Bordeaux Wine, Complete Guide

Fonbel Chateau Fonbel St. Emilion Bordeaux Wine, Complete Guide

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

Chateau Fonbel History, Overview

Chateau Fonbel has a long, ancient history that dates all the way back to the times when the ancient Romans were active in St. Emilion cultivating grapes for wine. However, the modern era for Chateau Fonbel starts in 1971, when Alain Vauthier purchased the estate.

The Vauthier family are of course better known for owning the famous estate, Chateau Ausone, as well as Chateau Moulin St. Georges in Saint Emilion and the neighboring vineyard of Chateau La Clotte.

The vineyard is located at the bottom of a slope on almost flat land, not too far from Chateau Ausone, Chateau Moulin St. Georges or the picturesque village of Saint Emilion. The property is still owned by the Vauthier family. Pauline Vauthier is firmly in charge of managing the property today.

Chateau Fonbel Vineyards, Terroir, Grapes, Winemaking

The 16 hectare Chateau Fonbel vineyard is planted to 70%v Merlot, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Petit Verdot and 3% Carmenere. This planting represents the largest percentage of Carmenere in the Right Bank.

In fact, this is also one of the largest plantings of Carmenere in all of Bordeaux! Chateau Fonbel could have the highest portion of Petit Verdot in the Right Bank as 7% of their vineyard is planted to Petit Verdot.

The vineyard has a terroir of clay, sand and gravel soils. The vines are on average, close to 20 years of age. The large amount of Carmenere and Petit Verdot in the vineyards provide a unique styling to Chateau Fonbel. The actual blend is often the same as what you find planted in the vineyard at Chateau Fonbel.

Ausone Pauline Vautheir 300x225 Chateau Fonbel St. Emilion Bordeaux Wine, Complete Guide

To produce the wine of Chateau Fonbel, the grapes are vinified in stainless steel, temperature controlled vats. Malolactic fermentation takes place in vat. Chateau Fonbel is aged in 30% new, French oak barrels for close to 10 months before bottling. The wine of Fonbel is produced by the same team that makes Chateau Ausone.

The young, talented, Pauline Vauthier is slowly, but surely, taking a more active roll at Chateau Fonbel, Chateau Moulin Saint Georges and Chateau Ausone, while her father, Alain Vauthier continues to take a step back. On average, 8,000 cases of Chateau Fonbel wine are produced every year.

When to Drink Chateau Fonbel, Anticipated Maturity, Decanting Time

Chateau Fonbel is better with at least 4-5 years of bottle age. Of course that can vary slightly, depending on the vintage. Chateau Fonbel is best enjoyed in the first 4-16 years of life.

Young vintages can be decanted for about 1 hour or so. This allows the wine to soften and open its perfume. Older vintages might need very little decanting, just enough to remove the sediment.

Serving and Decanting Chateau Fonbel with Wine and Food Pairings

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

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

Chateau Fonbel is a really fine example of a Bordeaux value wine that combines character, quality and fair prices. Current vintages can be found on average for about $25.

Château de Fonbel Wine Tasting Notes

9 Vintages 38,087 Views Sort by Vintage-Rating

2016Château de Fonbel  (St. Émilion Grand Cru)90

A nose of spice, licorice and black raspberries, the wine is medium bodied with a bright character to the fruit. The tannins are ripe, the fruit is fresh with a hint of chocolate and you really feel the addition of the Carmenere and Petit Verdot, which lends all the spicy qualities. Give this a few years to age. The wine was made from a blend of 70% Merlot, 16% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Carmenere and 7% Petit Verdot. The harvest began September 29, starting with the Merlot and finishing October 15 with the Carmenere.

2,273 Views   Tasted
2015Château de Fonbel  (St. Émilion Grand Cru)89

Blending 80% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Carmenere and 5% Petit Verdot, this medium bodied, forward wine shows soft, black cherry and spicy notes with the freshness coming in at the end.

2,928 Views   Tasted
2014Château de Fonbel  (St. Émilion Grand Cru)88

From a blend of 80% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Carmenere and 5% Petit Verdot, this wine exhibits a soft, elegant, black cherry and spicy character. 88-89 Pts

2,744 Views   Tasted
2013Château de Fonbel  (St. Émilion Grand Cru)87

Herbs, strawberry and spice are in the nose, followed by a medium bodied, crisp, bright cherry finish. Blended from 65% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Petit Verdot, the wine is aging in 30% new French oak. 86-88 Pts

3,415 Views   Tasted
2012Château de Fonbel  (St. Émilion Grand Cru)88

Blending 60% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Petit Verdot and 5% Carmenere, the wine is aged in 30% new French oak. Soft in texture, with spice, cherry and herbal notes, the wine ends with spicy blackberries. 87-88 Pts

3,299 Views   Tasted
2011Château de Fonbel  (St. Émilion Grand Cru)89

With the highest concentration of Petit Verdot in St. Emilion, as well as the largest plantings of Carmenere in the Right Bank, the assemblage is 63% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Petit Verdot and 7% Carmenere. The wine will be aged in 30% new oak. With spice, floral, earth and dark cherry scents, this medium-bodied wine ends with soft red berry flavors. 89-91 Pts

3,081 Views   Tasted
2010Château de Fonbel  (St. Émilion Grand Cru)88

Easy going, easy to like, medium bodied, soft wine with ample black raspberry and earthy notes in its character. This is not a wine built for aging. I'd drink it in its first decade of life.

5,532 Views   Tasted
2009Château de Fonbel  (St. Émilion Grand Cru)89

Licorice, earth, spice and fresh plum aromatics make up the perfume. On the palate, the medium bodied wine is soft in texture, finishing with fresh, sweet, ripe, blackberry. This crowd pleasing style of St. Emilion should drink well young.

3,707 Views   Tasted

Fonbel 66% Merlot 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Petit Verdot and 7% Carmenere opened with jammy berries, licorice and floral scents. Medium bodied and soft textured, the wine ends with a licorice and sweet jammy berry finish 89-91 Pts

3,953 Views   Tasted 90
2005Château de Fonbel  (St. Émilion Grand Cru)90

Licorice, flowers, black and red plums, spice and minerality scents are easy to find. This medium/full bodied, round textured wine is already starting to drink well.

7,155 Views   Tasted