This mid-nineteenth century Château is one of the most beautiful and exquisite in St-Emilion. It has lorded it over the famed “Côte Sud”, a source of some of the region’s most coveted wines for centuries. The property takes its name from a legendary fountain to be found in the grounds – Fonplegade literally means the “fountain of plenty” and history tells that for a millennium this fountain has quenched the thirst of pilgrims and maintained these sacred vineyards in the driest of years. Château Fonplegage may only have been founded as recently as 1852, but the rich legacy of these grounds stretches back for centuries.
Fonpleage was the realization of a dream by the wealthy and successful merchant – Jean-Pierre Beylot – who recognized the potential of the current vineyard site to produce excellent and long-lasting wines. He poured his heart and soul into bringing the property to life and expanded the estate to the 18.5 hectares we have today. After Beylot died, the property came under the control of the Duke of Morny and the Countess of Galard, who were the half-brother and half-sister of Napolean III! The renown of the property grew in the 19th century; in 1865 Fonpleage received a Gold medal at the Paris Exposition Universelle and was named a Premier Grand Cru Classe, a distinction it would enjoy until the mid-1940s.
The Château, as with so many estates in Bordeaux, exchanged hands several times in the early 20th century, until 1953 when it was acquired by the negociant (merchant) house of Armand Moueix. Fonplegade greeted the millennium with a sense of optimism, as Christian Mouiex, a highly respected oenologist became involved in the winemaking. The previous two decades had seen standards slip slightly at the property -time and the demands of modern winemaking took their toll on the estate and its facilities. However, the Mouiex family was forced to put the estate on the market, and in 2004 it was acquired by the Adams family (no pun intended!)
So began a new golden age for Fonplegade, the Château’s American investors wasted no time in re-invigorating the vineyards, increasing the vine density to 8,000 vines per hectare and crucially, converting to organic viticulture. The winery was completely over-hauled too, the Adams replaced the cement tanks with wooden vats and only the finest oak barrels, mostly new ones are used. This modern style and these vinification techniques are a far cry from the traditional methods employed by the previous owners, and it shows in the wines.
Since 2004, the wines of this estate have wowed the critics and consumers alike – the 2010 vintage showed the property at its finest: a nose of cherries, plum, and meat, a juicy, rich palate, concentration but also balance and freshness. The property itself is one of the finest in the Right-Bank and with wines like this being produced, there has never been a better time to visit Fonplegade.
Château Fonplegade (Grand Vin) Vintage
95% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc, Fermented in wooden vats and aged 18-24 months in new French oak (85%). A wine of great power, ripeness and concentration.
Fleur de Fonplegade (second wine of the property) Vintage
10% Cabernet Sauvignon, 85% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc. Fermented in wooden vats and aged in 100% new French oak for 12-15 months. Approachable on release.
Saint-Emilion, 33330 Bordeaux
Tel +33 (0) 557 744 311
Fax +33 (0) 557 744 467
- AOC Saint Emilion / Grand Cru Classe
- Area under vine
- 18.5 ha
- Age of vines
- 30 years+
- Oak barrel origin
- Michel Rolland (consultant) and Franck Jugelman
- Stephen and Denise Adams
- 4000 cases
- Grape varietals
- Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot