Red, Drink now

2009 Côtes du Rhône Rouge, Domaine de Fontbonau

2009 Côtes du Rhône Rouge, Domaine de Fontbonau

Red | Drink now | Domaine de Fontbonau | Code: 6792 | 2009 | France > Rhône > Cotes du Rhone | Southern Rhône Blend | Medium-Full Bodied, Dry | 15.0 % alcohol


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Bottle 6 x 75cl1cs

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Scores and Reviews

JANCIS - Weighing in at 15 per cent alcohol, this mighty red will not appeal to all. Yet savoured with the right food - big, juicy T-bone steaks and the like - this chewy red is easily tarned. Made predominantly from old vine grenache, but with syrah and even cabernet sauvignon in the blend, 2009 was a good southern rhône vintage. This briary.inky.herb and truffle-laden red is not unlike a top estate's gigondas.
Best red wines for summer, The Times, 28 July 2012

The Producer

Domaine de Fontbonau

Domaine de Fontbonau

Domaine de Fontbonau is a relatively new wine estate but one which will soon gain recognition and extensive plaudits. Located to the North East of Avignon, in the historically significant Enclave des Papes, the property covers 42 hectares near to the wine villages of Valréas and Visan. Fontboneau is a joint venture between Roussillon vigneron Jérôme Malet and Fréderic Engerer, hitherto somewhat better known as the Président of Chateau Latour in Bordeaux.
The terroir is classic Southern Rhône; fine clay, sand, silt and the odd scattering of galets (these pudding stones are the residues of Alpine glacial deposits). The vines are located at an altitude of 350 metres and are planted with Grenache (mainly) but also Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon. In 2009 a few white grapes (Roussanne and Viognier were planted). Some of the Grenache grapes are over 70 years old.
The aspiration is to achieve a high quality wine, indeed to produce the best Côtes Du Rhône in the world. All the work in the vineyard (de facto organic) and in the winery (sorting tables, especially built fermentation vats, new barrels etc) are working towards this aim.

The Grape

Southern Rhône Blend

Southern Rhône Blend

The vast majority of wines from the Southern Rhône are blends. There are 5 main black varieties, although others are used and the most famous wine of the region, Châteauneuf du Pape, can be made from as many as 13 different varieties. Grenache is the most important grape in the southern Rhône - it contributes alcohol, warmth and gentle juicy fruit and is an ideal base wine in the blend. Plantings of Syrah in the southern Rhône have risen dramatically in the last decade and it is an increasingly important component in blends. It rarely attains the heights that it does in the North but adds colour, backbone, tannins and soft ripe fruit to the blend.

The much-maligned Carignan has been on the retreat recently but is still included in many blends - the best old vines can add colour, body and spicy fruits. Cinsault is also backtracking but, if yields are restricted, can produce moderately well-coloured wines adding pleasant-light fruit to red and rosé blends. Finally, Mourvèdre, a grape from Bandol on the Mediterranean coast, has recently become an increasingly significant component of Southern Rhône blends - it often struggles to ripen fully but can add acidity, ripe spicy berry fruits and hints of tobacco to blends.

The Region

Cotes du Rhone

Cotes du Rhone

Classified in 1937, Côtes du Rhône is an enormous appellation encompassing red, white and rosé wines covering an area of 40,300 ha and producing a crop that is 3 times larger than Beaujolais and almost as much as Bordeaux. Although this wine can come from across the Rhône region, more than 90% comes from the south. With the honourable exception of those produced by famous northern names like Jaboulet and Guigal, the finest examples are made in the south.

Red wine dominates, made with a minimum of 40% Grenache (except in the north where Syrah is allowed to be top dog) normally partnered by Syrah and/or Mourvèdre; another 18 varieties are also permitted. Typically light and fruity, the best examples can be rich, spicy and full-bodied. Almost all are best drunk young. 

Quality varies from the very ordinary to the exceptional. Much is produced by cooperatives but the best come from the increasing number of individual estates and Châteauneuf-du-Pape producers like Beaucastel who produce premium entry wines here. White and rosé Côtes du Rhônes account for only 2% and 4% respectively, although both can be very good.  

Recommended Producers : Ferraton, Chave, Chapoutier, Vins de Vienne, Andre Romero's La Soumade, Boudinaud, Beaucastel

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