Chateau Fonplegade St. Emilion Bordeaux, Complete Guide

Chateau Fonplegade

Learn everything about Chateau Fonplegade St. Emilion 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 southeast 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 stepbrother 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.

Chateau Fonplegade

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 winemaking along with Corinne Comme. Stephen Adams and Denise Adams own other vineyards in the Right Bank including Chateau LEnclos in Pomerol. In 2020 the estate was officially certified as 100% Biodynamic. Along with biodynamic farming, they only use native yeasts in their vineyard as well.

Chateau Fonplegade Vineyards, Terroir, Grapes, Winemaking

The 18.5 hectare St. Emilion vineyard of Chateau Fonplegade is planted to 85% Merlot and 15% 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 30 years of age. They have old vines, some of which date back to an average of 50 years of age. They have even older vines that are more than 75 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 6, thermoregulated, large, 95 hectoliter oak vats and 2, 55 hectoliter oak tanks. 5% of the wine is barrel fermented in 500-liter oak barrels using the micro vinification process. 30% of the wine is vinified in conical-shaped, cement vats.

90% of the Malolactic fermentation takes place in 60% new, French oak barrels, with the remaining 10% going through malolactic in cement, egg-shaped tanks.

The wine is aged in a combination of 50% new, French oak barrels and egg-shaped tanks for an average of 18 months, depending on the quality and character of the vintage.

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 was placed on all future vintages starting with 2013. Starting with the 2017 vintage, Chateau Fonplegade moved to use biodynamic farming techniques. They were certified as biodynamic in 2020.

The best vintages of Chateau Fonplegade are: 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 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, which jumped up again in 2018, 2019, and 2020! All you have to do is taste these wines yourself, to know what I’m talking about.

On average the production is close to 7,500 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.

The Adams family also owns vineyards in Napa Valley, located on Howell Mountain. They produce a California Cabernet Sauvignon-based wine and Sauvignon Blanc which are sold under the name of ADAMVS.

Château Fonplégade Wine Tasting Notes

16 Vintages 167,096 Views Sort by Vintage-Rating

2020 Château Fonplégade  (St. Émilion Grand Cru) 95

Crushed rocks, currants, cherries, flowers, licorice, smoke, cocoa and espresso covers all the bases in the perfume. Elegant and edgy, silky, soft and mineral driven, the fruits show a beautiful purity, freshness and refinement on the palate, leaving you with salty tannins and sweet plums that continue to linger and expand in the finish. The wine is made from a blend of 85% Merlot and 15% Cabernet Franc. 94-96 Pts

2,159 Views   Tasted
2019 Château Fonplégade  (St. Émilion Grand Cru) 94

Black raspberries, plums, flowers, smoke, crushed rocks, vanilla and stones open the nose. On the palate, you find silky tannins, sweet red, polished, soft, ripe fruits that express purity over power. Medium-bodied and finesse in style, give this 6-8 years in the cellar before opening a bottle to allow for more nuances to develop. The wine was made from a blend of 90% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Franc and reached 14.5% alcohol. The harvest took place September 20 to October 5. 93-95 Pts

3,210 Views   Tasted
2018 Château Fonplégade  (St. Émilion Grand Cru) 95

Rich, bright, fresh, stony, and showing a good depth of color, the floral perfume also offers licorice, black plum, black cherry, touches of espresso and crushed stone. On the palate, the wine is concentrated, full-bodied, deep and vibrant, leaving you with a long, elegant finish allowing the purity in the fruit to shine. The wine was made from a blend of 90% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Franc. Give this beauty about 7 years or so in the cellar and it will really start to shine. 95 Points

4,594 Views   Tasted

Deep in color, the showy nose with its easily findable flowers, rocks, licorice, smoke, black raspberries and black cherries asserts its presence. But the real show takes place when all that perfectly ripe, velvet textured, silky, mineral driven fruit hits your palate. The volume, intensity, sweetness, lift and oceanic influences vibrate in the finish. After 14 years of a spare no expense attitude from Denise and Stephen Adams to make the best wine possible, clearly they have upped their game with the 2018 Fonplegade. The wine was made from a blend of 90% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Franc and reached 14% alcohol. The harvest took place September 13 to September 29. 94-96 Pts

6,132 Views   Tasted
2017 Château Fonplégade  (St. Émilion Grand Cru) 94

Floral in nature, you\'ll also find licorice, spice box, sandalwood and plummy aromatics on the nose. On the palate, the wine is fresh with an intense mineral character. Once past the rocks and stones, the red fruits are sweet, bright, quite fresh and finesse driven. The finish is long with ripe, salty, red berries and plenty of verve. Made from a blend of 90% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Franc, the wine reached 14% alcohol with a pH of 3.45. The harvest took place September 13 to September 29. 94 Points

4,822 Views   Tasted
2016 Château Fonplégade  (St. Émilion Grand Cru) 94

A bit more subdued at the moment, with coaxing, flowers, wild cherries, blackberries, plums, espresso, crushed rocks, and a touch of spice come through on the nose. The wine is fresh, sweet, lifted, vibrant, and packed with minerality and sweet, red berries. The tannins are soft and everything is in balance. But it could use another 2-3 years before it becomes fully expressive. 94 Points

1,935 Views   Tasted

With the 2016 there is length, density and purity of fruit, along with elegance, harmony and a fabulous, rock strewn character. The fruit is ripe, fresh, long and complex. Hang onto this wine for at least a decade and it's going to be a gem! The wine was made from a blend of 90% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Franc. 95 Points

6,586 Views   Tasted

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. 95 Points

6,688 Views   Tasted
2015 Château Fonplégade  (St. Émilion Grand Cru) 95

Still youthful as expected, but the tannins are starting to soften and the wine is beginning to fill out. Espresso, licorice, crushed stone, flowers and sweet, juicy plums show on the nose and the refined, mineral-driven, fresh palate. Perhaps another 4-5 years are needed before the wine really starts popping. It is going to be worth the wait. 95 Points

4,335 Views   Tasted

Black licorice, truffle, smoke, ripe, sweet, dark red berries and cherry notes might be what you notice first. But it is the elegant, sensuous, silky textures that you feel when tasting the fresh, luscious fruits and salty tannins, with its length and purity that leaves the biggest impression. 95 Points

5,532 Views   Tasted

From a blend of 95% Merlot and 5% Cabernet Franc, this is a winner. There is a solid depth of color, the nose shows off its cocoa, black plum and even dark cherry nuances with ease. There is a floral note that stands out in the crowd. In the finish, the wine is full bodied, elegant, fresh and long, with stony character to the ripe fruits. 95 Points

4,168 Views   Tasted

Showing a good depth of color, the wine kicks off with dark chocolate covered plums, flowers and crushed rock aromatics before you discover the elegant, silky, polished tannins and sweet, fresh, pure, dark red fruits in the finish. At least 6-8 years in the cellar will add a lot this wine. 95 Points

4,571 Views   Tasted

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. 95 Points

5,269 Views   Tasted
2014 Château Fonplégade  (St. Émilion Grand Cru) 92

This has turned out much nicer than expected. The wine is soft, round, loaded with ripe, dark red fruits, flowers, licorice and earthy complexities. The only minor quibble is the lush finish ends a bit too quickly. This is already quite a pleasure to imbibe with just 30 minutes of air. 92 Points

2,673 Views   Tasted

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. 91 Points

3,658 Views   Tasted

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

3,724 Views   Tasted
2013 Château Fonplégade  (St. Émilion Grand Cru) 89

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. 89 Points

1,906 Views   Tasted

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

2,306 Views   Tasted
2012 Château Fonplégade  (St. Émilion Grand Cru) 92

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. 92 Points

4,326 Views   Tasted

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. 91 Points

4,271 Views   Tasted

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

2,918 Views   Tasted
2012 Fleur de Fonplégade  (St. Émilion Grand Cru) 84

Easy drinking, red berry dominated, nice restaurant wine. 83-85 Pts

2,099 Views   Tasted
2011 Château Fonplégade  (St. Émilion Grand Cru) 90

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. 90 Points

2,167 Views   Tasted

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. 90 Points

2,308 Views   Tasted

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

2,760 Views   Tasted
2010 Château Fonplégade  (St. Émilion Grand Cru) 94

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! 94 Points

4,226 Views   Tasted

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. 94 Points

4,564 Views   Tasted

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. 93 Points

3,451 Views   Tasted

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. 93 Points

4,407 Views   Tasted

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. 93 Points

4,547 Views   Tasted

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

3,955 Views   Tasted
2009 Château Fonplégade  (St. Émilion Grand Cru) 93

On its way to maturity, secondary aromatics are starting to surface. With just a little coaxing, licorice, smoke, espresso, herbs and plums come out. Soft, vibrant and fruity, with a touch of oak in the finish, you can drink this now, or age it for another 2-4 more years. 93 Points

3,050 Views   Tasted

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. 93 Points

4,284 Views   Tasted

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! 93 Points

4,998 Views   Tasted

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 92 Points

5,235 Views   Tasted
2008 Château Fonplégade  (St. Émilion Grand Cru) 91

Truffles pop up first before you move to the smoky, red fruits and spice scents. On the palate the wine is medium/full bodied, and moves from sweet, bright, red fruits to darker red berries and back to the tart side of the style range. There is a softness to the fruits, along with an oaky sensation in the mouth and finish. This is a nice wine, but at Fonplegade today, with their focus on producing the best wine possible, it is easy to see how much they have really stepped up their game. 91 Points

2,576 Views   Tasted

Fresh mint, cocoa, fennel and juicy plum scents, medium/full bodied with soft textures, this wine ends with spicy dark cherries. 90 Points

4,755 Views   Tasted

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. 90 Points

2,999 Views   Tasted
2006 Château Fonplégade  (St. Émilion Grand Cru) 91

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. 91 Points

3,726 Views   Tasted
2005 Château Fonplégade  (St. Émilion Grand Cru) 92

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. 92 Points

4,352 Views   Tasted

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. 92 Points

6,778 Views   Tasted