A joint project between Frédéric Engerer of Château Latour
and Jérôme Malet, a vine grower from the Roussillon, Domaine de
Fontbonau is a newer property, but hardly timid. Their purported goal
is to achieve the best Côtes du Rhône in the world, and they’ve chosen
a 42-hectare property in the Enclave des Papes to make this dream come
true. Childhood friends, Jérôme and Frédéric were each enamored of
the wine industry and pursued careers in this sphere separately. Their
friendship continued over the years and eventually they joined forces,
founding Domaine de Fontbonau in 2008. The estate of Fontbonau
produces not only wine, but also olives, lavender, honey, and truffles. The
farming is all organic, and the team at Fontbonau has worked to restore
the estate’s historic vineyards and to plant further varieties there too. We
have been buying Domaine de Fontbonau wines since 2010, and each
vintage is better than the last. The 2015 vintage was a truly
great one for many parts of France, with the Rhône being no exception.
Full-fruited and rich, with elegant structure and bright acidity, this
Côtes du Rhône drinks like an elegant Châteauneuf-du-Pape, but with
more approachability. At five years past vintage date, it’s completely integrated, as the tannin structure has
mellowed into a pleasant textural element as the fruit begins to show some depth and development. What a great pairing for hearty entrées this autumn and winter, such as a rack of lamb.
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