Drinking a wine prize, Château Fombrauge Saint Émilion Grand Cru 2012

As I’m sure someone has said, “You can’t spell ‘wine’ without ‘win'” and if someone hasn’t said it before, I’m saying it now because earlier this year, this site was a Finalist for the Millésime Awards. The first prize was a trip to Bordeaux. The second was a magnum of a Grand Cru from Bordeaux. I ended up with the magnum… eventually.

There were some weird hold-ups with getting it out initially and then it was apparently “lost” in the shipping. I’m not really sure what happened but there were many emails back and forth until one day, a wooden box showed up on my doorstep with this magnum inside of Saint Émilion Grand Cru. Oddly enough, I know the owner of the winery more than the wine because it’s Bernard Magrez whose Priorat cellar is my neighbor.

Living in Spain with “warm” summers, I don’t really like to keep wines around all that long as I don’t have a sufficiently large bottle fridge and even if I did, storing magnums is a bit of an onerous problem given their double-sized nature. So, we invited some friends over and opened it up, although with a Left Bank rival of a similar price range which was the Château Le Clare Médoc 2010.

Bordeaux is tough for the same reason that Burgundy is tough, maybe even more so as at the top-end of both regions, there are stunning wines with prices to match but then there’s a hollow middle and a whole lot at the bottom. I feel however that Burgundy does a much better job of covering all price ranges despite the fact people seem to ignore anything that isn’t Grand of Premier Cru. Bordeaux on the other hand is awash in low-end that really doesn’t get anywhere near the the Classified Growths as outdated as that classification may be.

The Le Clare was actually decent which isn’t a surprise as 2010 was just a very solid year in Médoc. Maybe a bit thin but I attribute that more to it being primarily Merlot than Cabernet Sauvignon which the latter is more dominant in Left Bank. But this Fombrauge was well, wanting. It just felt overworked in the cellar with big blocky oak treatment and a severe lack of balanced fruit. Indeed, it was full and round in the mouth but there was little nuance to it and this is despite the year being good for Merlot which is what the Right Bank grows so well.

Overall, an interesting wine to taste but not one I would seek out.

Saint Émilion Grand Cru 2012
Dark, dark ruby in the glass with aromas of raspberry, cranberry, dried fruit, cedar, black olives. In the mouth the cranberry is prevalent with toasted notes from the aging regimen as well as a good hit of prune that pulls in to a long finish.

90% Merlot, 9% Cab Franc, 1% Cab Sauvignon 14% 25€


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