Chateau Fonplegade 2019
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
Plums, dark cherries, blueberries, cedar, amber, dried herbs and baking spices on the nose. Full-bodied with plush tannins. Structured, balanced and intense. It has a polished, rich core of dark and blue fruit and a long, flavorful finish. Wait for the oak spice to integrate. Drink from 2025.
From a great terroir on the south-facing hillside just outside of the village, the 2019 Château Fonplégade has pretty notes of ripe black cherries, cassis, spring flowers, sandalwood, and classy oak. I love the nose, and while it's still young and relatively unevolved, it already has hints of complexity and nuance, and the purity is spot on. Medium to full-bodied on the palate, with a great mid-palate and sweet, velvety tannins, it already offers pleasure yet will benefit from 4-6 years of bottle age, and I'd be shocked if it didn't evolve nicely for at least 15-20 years. Best after 2026.
My sample of 2019 Fonplegade came direct from the property. There is a lot going on aromatically with high-toned black cherries intermingling with incense, kirsch and desiccated orange peel aromas. Fortunately it manages to maintain both focus and delineation. The palate is medium-bodied with supple tannins that lend this Saint-Émilion a corpulence that belies the structure that becomes tangible on the light grippy, quite spicy finish. This is a very well crafted Fonplégade, less ostentatious than previous vintages and all the better for it. -- Neal Martin
Barrel Sample: 91-93
Shows the thickly textured dark fruit of the vintage, with steeped plum and blackberry notes cruising through slowly, carried by alder, loam and tobacco threads. Gains nuance as it airs in the glass, showing light chalky minerality for energy and balance in the process. Approachable but no rush. Merlot and Cabernet Franc. Drink now.
Aromas of ripe cherries, licorice, crème de cassis, burning embers and loamy soil introduce the 2019 Fonplegade, a medium to full-bodied, muscular wine that's rich and powerful, reflecting its clay-rich soils. It's a fleshy, generous wine that represents a fine success in a more impactful style. Best after 2025.
Château Fonplégade's name (literally "fountain of plenty") was derived from the historic 13th century stone fountain that graces the estate's vineyard. It quenched the thirst of passing pilgrims for hundreds of years, and continues to provide sustenance to the estate's vines in the driest vintages.
Grapevines have thrived at this exceptional site, perched on the limestone plateau that is home to Saint-Emilion's finest vineyards, since the late 1500s. In 1852, legendary wine merchant Jean-Pierre Beylot purchased the estate and built the elegant Château that still stands on the property. Enchanted by the terroir, history and grandeur of the estate, with its ancient Roman pathways and graceful vine rows, Denise and Stephen Adams acquired Château Fonplégade in 2004 and spent 15 years tirelessly revitalizing the vineyards, renovating the cellar and lovingly restoring the Château.
As stewards of these cherished vine rows, they cultivate their vineyards using strict ECOCERT organic practices, both to preserve the purity and character of their grapes, and to ensure the legacy of Chateau Fonplegade for generations to come.
Marked by its historic fortified village—perhaps the prettiest in all of Bordeaux, the St-Émilion appellation, along with its neighboring village of Pomerol, are leaders in quality on the Right Bank of Bordeaux. These Merlot-dominant red wines (complemented by various amounts of Cabernet Franc and/or Cabernet Sauvignon) remain some of the most admired and collected wines of the world.
St-Émilion has the longest history in wine production in Bordeaux—longer than the Left Bank—dating back to an 8th century monk named Saint Émilion who became a hermit in one of the many limestone caves scattered throughout the area.
Today St-Émilion is made up of hundreds of independent farmers dedicated to the same thing: growing Merlot and Cabernet Franc (and tiny amounts of Cabernet Sauvignon). While always roughly the same blend, the wines of St-Émilion vary considerably depending on the soil upon which they are grown—and the soils do vary considerably throughout the region.
The chateaux with the highest classification (Premier Grand Cru Classés) are on gravel-rich soils or steep, clay-limestone hillsides. There are only four given the highest rank, called Premier Grand Cru Classés A (Chateau Cheval Blanc, Ausone, Angélus, Pavie) and 14 are Premier Grand Cru Classés B. Much of the rest of the vineyards in the appellation are on flatter land where the soils are a mix of gravel, sand and alluvial matter.
Great wines from St-Émilion will be deep in color, and might have characteristics of blackberry liqueur, black raspberry, licorice, chocolate, grilled meat, earth or truffles. They will be bold, layered and lush.
One of the world’s most classic and popular styles of red wine, Bordeaux-inspired blends have spread from their homeland in France to nearly every corner of the New World. Typically based on either Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot and supported by Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot, the best of these are densely hued, fragrant, full of fruit and boast a structure that begs for cellar time. Somm Secret—Blends from Bordeaux are generally earthier compared to those from the New World, which tend to be fruit-dominant.