Fronsac is a hilly, picturesque region located along the Dordogne and L'Isle rivers to the west of the much more famous Pomerol region. A part of what is known as the Libourne satellite appellations - appellations that surround more famous wine regions - it's wines are recognized as some of the best value in Bordeaux. The soil on the right bank of the Dordogne contains a high percentage of clay which is a marriage made in heaven for the Merlot variety.
It is in this region that Chateau Villars has a history spanning more than two centuries and has shown itself to be one of the better performing chateaus in the Fronsac. Le Guide Hachette des vins has long rated this chateau as one the gems of its appellation which gives you an idea of the wine quality produced here. Had this chateau been located a little further east it would have a much bigger reputation.
The Gaudrie family has run chateau since the beginning of the 19th century with Jean-Claude and his family currently in control of operations. Thierry Gaudrie has managed to successfully combine the ancestral traditions of his forefathers with today’s modern methods. This wine (the Chateau Villars) is the flagship wine, a blend of predominantly merlot (75%) along with some cabernet franc (15%) and cabernet sauvignon (10%). Here is what I thought of it:
Despite being seven years old, this wine is still a very youthful, deep purple in colour. Nice mature nose with red strawberry and cherry-like aromas. Some earthy, yeasty, bread-like characters in there as well. On the palate it's smooth and soft with earthy, red berry fruit and hints of cedar. The tannins are quite soft and well integrated. It is full bodied but well balanced and nicely structured. All-in-all an honest, nicely matured red that is very good value for money and shows what Fronsac is capable of.
Friday, October 17, 2008
2001 Chateau Villars