Chateau de la Dauphine, AOC Fronsac, Gironde, Nouvelle Aquitaine, France, 2014
On AOC Fronsac
Fronsac, containing the appellation Canon Fronsac, lies to the west of Pomerol/St Emilion and the north/south flowing river Isle. The appellation extends from Fronsac village, for about 6 kms to the north and 6 kms west. The topography consists of a hilly plateau with no serious features, which extends past Fronsac village on slopes down to the Dordogne.
The climate is maritime, with risk of spring frost, mitigated by proximity to the two rivers, though both devastating frost and hail have occurred in this area. Soils are cool clayey-limestone, and clayey-sand closer the rivers.
In traditional cuvees, the style is less merlot dominated than nowadays seems to be the norm, with cabernet franc and perhaps splashes of cabernet sauvignon and malbec, a profile of dense red and black fruit, spicy, full bodied, a good length, and a tannic structure with a rustic edge, requiring ageing, of 3 years plus, with ageability of 5-10 years. In recent years this style seems to have been eroded by Parkerisation, with a trend for more merlot in the blend, so softer and approachable earlier … a survey of ten contemporary cuvees shows 6 of varietal merlot, 2 of 90:10, 1 of 80:20 and 1 of 70:30 merlot:cabernet franc.
Permitted varieties, in order of blend importance and contribution are, merlot, cabernet franc, cabernet sauvignon and malbec.
This wine: lot No. LD130616C58, a blend of 90% merlot with cabernet franc; fermented in concrete vat, then aged 12 months in 30% new oak barrels; coated natural cork closure, 14.5% abv, Ann et Vin ~£20 (11/16)
Consumer tasting note: from right bank of the Dordogne, merlot dominated, with a 10% glug of cabernet franc, this wine gives easy drinking, though still a food wine; full bodied, wearing its high alcohol well, smooth with soft tannins and enough acidity, with a profile of stewed red plum, black berries and cherry, a touch spicy with just a whiff of toast, then black liquorice and a touch of raisin. Finishes medium-long.
Drink now – RTD, but will keep – Wait. Decant for thirty minutes.
WSET style tasting note
Appearance: clear and bright, deep intensity ruby, showing tears [no sediment]
Nose: clean, medium (+) intensity, developing, with aromas as they come, of stewed red plum edged with cedar, a little smoky, spicy, hint of black berry, a stronger whiff of black currant with a creamy lactic undertone, a touch savoury, a hint of toast, warm beeswax, a touch earthy, black liquorice.
Palate: dry, medium acidity, fine grained medium tannins, medium (+) alcohol, a full body, medium (+) intensity, a smooth texture with a sweetness of ripe fruit in mid-palate, with flavours of red plum juice, black currant, a touch of black cherry, a touch of raisin, low-key oakiness, warm beeswax. A medium (+) length with a clean black fruited lightly savoury finish.
Quality: very good, well balanced acidity and ripe soft moderate tannins with alcohol; a better than average intensity and concentration, showing evidence of well integrated oak, in a better than moderate complexity, with a frill of tertiary development by way of notes of beeswax, earth, raisin and savoury; finishes medium-long.
Drinking readiness/ageing potential: drink now, unsuited to further ageing, but will keep for 2-3 years – a sound structure and balance, but lacking intensity, concentration and indicative length, to be worthwhile cellaring for further improvement.
Conseil des Vins de Fronsac [online] accessed 17/11/18.