This red Bordeaux (mostly merlot) is an excellent example of modern French winemaking. The Fonbel, a grand cru from St. Emilion on the right bank, combines traditional Bordeaux strengths, like balance and aging ability, with more intense fruit than many right bank Bordeauxs have.
Isn’t the intense fruit (mostly blackberry) a problem, given that Bordeaux is supposed to be more subtle? I don’t think so. For one thing, this is the celebrated 2005 vintage, where fruit shows itself more intensely. For another, the back of the wine, and especially the tannins, show that the Fonbel will age nicely for four or five years. In that time, the wine should round off and become less fruity and more interesting.
Suggested retail is about $30 – if not a great value, then a fair one, and especially if you let it age. Serve this with lamb or steak frites.
For more expensive wine reviews: