Learn everything about Chateau Fonplegade St. Emilion, Bordeaux with wine tasting notes and wine with food pairing tips. Learn all 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 Fonplegade History, Overview
Chateau Fonplegade is located close to the south, east portion of the St. Emilion village. What we know of as Chateau Fonplegade today, is one of the oldest vineyards in Saint Emilion. Proof of this is easily seen. If you’re visiting Chateau Fonplegade and looking at the historic Roman pathways still visible today, it’s easy to see how Fonplegade could be one of the oldest Bordeaux vineyards in the Right Bank. Ancient Roman ruins date the birth of the estate as a vineyard to about 400 AD.
The name Fonplegade was inspired by the terroir. Fonplegade means full or bent fountain. It was derived from the natural fountain, located close to the center of the vineyard which supports numerous, small, running springs in various bent and twisted shapes that are located on the estate.
Skipping ahead about 1,500 years, in 1852, Jean-Pierre Beylot purchased Chateau Fonplegade. Beylot built the magnificent chateau that is still on the Fonplegade property today. In 1863, Chateau Fonplegade was sold to the Duke of Morny. Morny was the step brother of Napoleon the 3rd. The Moueix family purchased the estate in 1953. Things changed again most recently in 2004 when Denise Adams and Stephen Adams bought the Right Bank vineyard of Chateau Fonplegade for 30 million Euros from Armand Moueix.
After a complete and very, expensive renovation of the Chateau Fonplegade chateau, cellars and wine making facilities, they also replanted large portions of the vineyards. Next, the Adams family started taking a different approach with their vineyard management techniques. They began a biodynamic, farming program starting with the 2009 vintage. They were certified organic in 2013. Michel Rolland was the first consultant they hired. In 2015, they also brought in the team of Stephane Derenoncourt to help consult in the vineyard management and wine making. The Adams family own other wine making estates in the Right Bank including Chateau LEnclos in Pomerol.
Chateau Fonplegade Vineyards, Terroir, Grapes, Winemaking
The 18.5 hectare St. Emilion vineyard of Chateau Fonplegade is planted to 95% Merlot and 5% Cabernet Franc. The remaining Cabernet Sauvignon vines were removed in 2010. The goal is to slowly increase the amount of Cabernet Franc planted in the vineyard to as much as 20% of the plantings over time. The terroir is limestone and clay soils. The south facing vineyard has most of their vineyards ideally placed on the slopes, with some vines being planted on the plateau and a minor portion of their vines are planted at the bottom of their hillsides. They also have a parcel of vines north of the village, off the road to Libourne.
The Fonplegade vineyard is planted to a vine density of 6,500 vines per hectare in the front of the chateau. Behind the chateau, on the hillsides and slopes, the vines are planted to a higher vine density of 8,500 vines per hectare with their newer plantings. The program to increase the vineyard density began in 2004, after the Adams family took control of the vineyard. On average, the vines are 25 years of age. They have old vines, some of which date back to an average of 50 years of age.
The vines are not all that is old in their vineyards. Some of the best preserved Roman ruins in Bordeaux are found at Chateau Fonplegade in their verdant, hillside landscape on the Fonplegade plateau. A complete renovation of the chateau was finished in 2015, which included a restoration of the chateau to its original design, which once again features matching towers on both sides of the chateau.
To produce the wine of Chateau Fonplegade, the fruit is whole berry fermented, following a cold maceration for 5 days. The wine is vinified in 8, thermo regulated, large, 90 hectoliter oak vats. 30% of the wine is barrel fermented in 500 liter oak barrels using the micro vinification process. Malolactic fermentation takes place in new oak barrels. 15% of the wine is aged in concrete vats and the remainder of the wine is aged in 85% new, French oak barrels for 18 to 24 months, depending on the quality and character of the vintage.
It is not uncommon for the tanks to be bled, to increase concentration and density. In late 2013, Chateau Fonplegade was certified as being 100% organic in their vineyard management techniques. The certification was awarded by Ecocert. Notice of the organic certification will be placed on all future vintages starting with the 2013. Starting with the 2017 vintage, Château Fonplegade moved to using only biodynamic farming techniques.
The best vintages of Chateau Fonplegade are: 2016, 2015, 2012, 2010, 2009 and 2005. While 2009 and 2010 are quite good, clearly, the 2015 and 2016 vintages are a big leap up in quality for the estate! All you have to do is taste these wines yourself, to know what I’m talking about.
On average the production is close to 3,500 cases of Chateau Fonplegade per vintage. There is a second wine, Fleur de Fonplegade.
When to Drink Chateau Fonplegade, Anticipated Maturity, Decanting Time
Chateau Fonplegade is much better with at least 10-15 years of aging in good vintages. Young vintages can be decanted for 2-3 hours, or more. This allows the wine to soften and open its perfume. Older vintages might need very little decanting, just enough to remove the sediment. Chateau Fonplegade offers its best drinking and should reach peak maturity between 10-30 years of age after the vintage.
Serving Chateau Fonplegade with Wine and Food Pairings
Chateau Fonplegade is best served at 15.5 degrees Celsius, 60 degrees Fahrenheit. The cool, almost cellar temperature gives the wine more freshness and lift. Chateau Fonplegade is best paired with all types of classic meat dishes, veal, pork, beef, lamb, duck, game, roast chicken, roasted, braised and grilled dishes. Chateau Fonplegade is also good when matched with Asian dishes, rich fish courses like tuna, salmon, mushrooms and pasta.
Château Fonplégade Wine Tasting Notes
12 Vintages 78085 Views Sort Vintage - Rating
Deep ruby-purple in color with a spicy set of aromatics, this is made even more complicated by dark cherries and plums. This wine is rich, sultry and silky, competing with, and perhaps exceeding, the very strong 2015. This is going to be a fun back-to-back vintage to compare over the next few decades. The wine was made from a blend of 90% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Franc and reached 14.2% alcohol with a pH of 3.45.
Apr 29, 2017points - Tasted 1277 Views
Forest floor, truffle, smoke, licorice and sweet, ripe plum and cherry notes, this wine is sensuous, silky and packed with fresh fruits and crushed rocks that leave you with an elegant sensation of just-picked, sun-ripened cherries. Harvested from September 18 to October 6, the wine was made from a blend of 95% Merlot and 5% Cabernet Franc, reaching 14% alcohol with a pH of 3.5. This is the first vintage for Stephane Derenoncourt at the estate.
Apr 29, 2016points - Tasted 2748 Views
Forward, softy textured, medium bodied wine, with a fresh spicy character to its, black raspberry and plum fruits. Give this a few years for more secondary development, while waiting for the next 2, subsequent vintages to develop.
Jun 16, 2017points - Tasted 1158 Views
Espresso bean, dark red fruits, supple textures and a blast of chocolate-covered plum are found on the nose. This elegant, fresh, mineral-driven wine offers black raspberries and juicy dark plums in the finish. Made from a blend of 95% Merlot and 5% Cabernet Franc, the wine reached 14% alcohol with a pH of 3.4. 89-91 Pts
Apr 27, 2015points - Tasted 1841 Views
An already developed, truffle, tobacco and plum nose allows you to move to the medium/full bodied, sweet, fresh, red and dark red berry filled wine. The wine is soft, and easy to drink, but there is a hint of dryness in the finish.
May 25, 2016points - Tasted 1098 Views
This shows good color for the vintage along with its truffle, tobacco, spice and black raspberry aromas. Soft, polished and round, this has a nice sensation of minerality paired with the fresh, black raspberry finish. 90-92 Pts
Apr 28, 2014points - Tasted 1674 Views
The wine continues to flesh out as it ages. Loads of licorice, stone, flowers, black cherry and plum notes, with just a hint of espresso bean. Rich, silky, round and fresh, give it 5 years in the bottle and it should be even better.
Nov 8, 2015points - Tasted 3148 Views
Incense, espresso, dark chocolate and black plum notes create the aromatic profile. The forward styled wine is on the red berry side of the style range with a fresh, clean finish.
May 15, 2015points - Tasted 3312 Views
95% Merlot and 5% and Cabernet Franc produced the blend. Deep in color, with a stony, black raspberry filled nose. On the palate, the wine offers sweet, black cherries and a dark chocolate, black plum, round finish. 90-92 Pts
Apr 26, 2013points - Tasted 2419 Views
Easy drinking, red berry dominated, nice restaurant wine. 83-85 Pts
Apr 26, 2013points - Tasted 1513 Views
With a complex set of aromatics consisting of smoke, espresso bean, tobacco, 5 spice, black cherries and earth, this medium bodied, soft, forward wine ends with a spicy, black raspberry sensation.
Nov 17, 2013points - Tasted 1817 Views
The wine was bottled in July. Minerality, coffee bean, blackberry, spice and smoke notes open to a forward, medium bodied wine with sweet, bright, spicy red fruits. There is some dryness in the finish.
Aug 5, 2013points - Tasted 1965 Views
From 95% Merlot and 5% Cabernet Franc, the wine reached 13% alcohol and represents 65% of the production. This deeply colored wine begins with fennel, stone, coffee and black cherry aromas and opens to a wine filled with sweet, round and fresh blackberries. 91-93 Pts
Apr 24, 2012points - Tasted 2392 Views
Continuing to flesh out, the wine is rich, concentrated and fresh, with depth of flavor, silky, dark plums and licorice galore. A few more years will make this even better!
Mar 17, 2017points - Tasted 3117 Views
Slowly but surely, this keeps getting better and better. The color remains dark. Full bodied, rich, concentrated and complex, the licorice, truffle, floral and plum notes build in the mouth. If you like wines young, pop a cork, but it is almost primary. Else, wait another 5 years.
Jul 12, 2016points - Tasted 2877 Views
Starting to close down, so this is not the best time to be tasting it. You will need to give it a few hours of air before the wine opens to deliver its mineral driven, plummy, smoke and licorice essence. The wine is structured to age and improve, but it feels like 5-10 years of cellaring are warranted.
Jul 2, 2015points - Tasted 2606 Views
Lush, round and supple in texture, this rich, polished, fresh wine delivers a lot of clean, pure berries, licorice, stone and espresso beans. The tannins and ripe, polished and sweet, there is good freshness in the finish.
Aug 5, 2013points - Tasted 3259 Views
Sporting a new label, rich in color, licorice, truffle, black cherry and coffee scents couple with silky, rich, textures, round tannins and a mineral infused, long, fresh, ripe, black plum and spice filled finish.
May 2, 2012points - Tasted 3738 Views
Fonplegade From 91% Merlot 5 % Cabernet Franc, 4% Cabernet Sauvignon and aged in 80% new oak, this is the first vintage for the new managing director Jean-Christophe Meyrou, who previously occupied the same position at Le Gay and La Violette in Pomerol. Malolactic finished in late March, the wine was just opening up when tasted. Licorice, spice, jammy berries and vanilla scents opened to a wine with medium/full body, round textures and a ripe licorice, spice and jammy berry finish. 89-91 Pts
Apr 22, 2011points - Tasted 3157 Views
Ripe, opulent, deep, sweet, lusty fruits, espresso, smoke, licorice and dark chocolate permeate the aromatics. Young, but so plush, with its low acid, forward style, you can drink it, or age it further.
Jul 12, 2016points - Tasted 2327 Views
This just keeps getting better each time I taste it. Soft, lush, polished and silky, with pure, sweet, ripe, black cherries, earth, smoke, licorice and espresso scents on the nose. The tannins are smooth, the fruit is sweet and this has the structure to age. Plus the price is right!
Jul 2, 2015points - Tasted 3458 Views
Licorice, smoke, coffee, stone and ripe black cherry, rich, ripe and round, the wine finishes with blackberry, minerality and fresh red and black plums. This needs time to come together
May 2, 2012points - Tasted 4691 Views
Fresh mint, cocoa, fennel and juicy plum scents, medium/full bodied with soft textures, this wine ends with spicy dark cherries.
Feb 16, 2012points - Tasted 4410 Views
Licorice, coffee, blackberry, plum and stone aromas are found with some effort. Full bodied and filled with mocha, along with ripe, sweet, licorice tinged black and red fruit, this round St. Emilion wine should offer a lot of pleasure after it integrates in 5 years, give or take a few on either end.
Nov 18, 2011points - Tasted 2662 Views
Forest floor, spice box, truffle, smoke, licorice and dark red fruits are a nice treat for the nose. Close to fully mature, the secondary, earthy aromatic profiles move to ripe, sweet, fruits in the finish, but there is touch of dryness in the end note that stops the wine from getting a higher score.
May 25, 2016points - Tasted 2106 Views
Just starting to come alive, with its earthy, black cherry, plum, tobacco and truffle nose, the wine is soft, silky and packed with earthy, fresh, round plums. You can drink this now, or wait a few more years.
Jun 28, 2015points - Tasted 3265 Views
Deep ruby with purple color and a strong, licorice, coffee bean, black plum and mineral nose opens to an intense, full bodied, rich, round wine. This St. Emilion wine ends with a long, licorice, chocolate and black cherry filled, supple finish.
Aug 30, 2011points - Tasted 6329 Views