The 2016 Fonbel is a blend of 70% Merlot, 16% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Petit Verdot and 7% Carmenere picked from 29 September until 18 October at 50 hectoliters per hectare. It has a pretty cranberry and blackcurrant-scented bouquet, quite transparent and terroir-driven with nicely integrated oak (30% aged in new oak). The palate is medium-bodied with crisp tannin, a lively and breezy Saint Emilion, not the most complex you will find but full of personality. The freshness suggests that this will drink early, and that Carmenere just gives it something different (although Pauline Vauthier mentioned that she will regraft some of those vines). 2019-2028
Rich and crimson-tasting with just a hint of pencil shavings. Very sweet. Just a bit too sweet. Drying end. Drink 2023-2030
A balanced and fruity wine with an almost Burgundian mouthfeel and balance. Medium body and a juicy finish.
The 2016 de Fonbel is soft, supple and quite pretty. Sweet, floral aromatics and gently lilting small red fruits give the 2016 its delicate, gracious personality. A model of understatement and class, the 2016 should drink well pretty much right out of the gate. Today, the 2016 is a touch compact. It will be interesting to see if it fleshes out a bit more during its aging.
South of Pomerol lies the medieval, perched village of St Emilion. Surrounding St Emilion are vines that produce round, rich and often hedonistic wines. Despite a myriad of soil types, two main ones dominate - the gravelly, limestone slopes that delve down to the valley from the plateau and the valley itself which is comprised of limestone, gravel, clay and sand. Despite St Emilion's popularity today, it was not until the 1980s to early 1990s that attention was brought to this region. Robert Parker, the famous wine critic, began reviewing their Merlot-dominated wines and giving them hefty scores. The rest is history as they say. Similar to the Médoc, there is a classification system in place which dates from 1955 and outlines several levels of quality. These include its regional appellation of St Emilion, St Emilion Grand Cru, St Emilion Grand Cru Classé and St Emilion Premier Grand Cru Classé, which is further divided into "A" (Ausone and Cheval Blanc) and "B" (including Angélus, Canon, Figeac and a handful of others). To ensure better accuracy, the classification is redone every 10 years enabling certain châteaux to be upgraded or downgraded depending on on the quality of their more recent vintages.