The Rolland Collection
In the 1986 Michel and Dany were in the market for a weekend home, away from the bustle of Bordeaux’s Right Bank. They came across a beautiful house in the Fronsac commune of Saillans. It came with 7ha of delipidated vineyards, a vat room and barrel cellar, and whilst making wine there definitely wasn’t part of the plan the temptation proved to be irresistible. Over the ensuing years they transformed the estate, naming it Chateau Fontenil after one of the vineard’s lieu dits, and have contributed significantly to the increased recognition of Fronsac as a commune of the highest calibre.
The 50 year old vineyards (85% Merlot, 15% Cabernet
Sauvignon) are predominantly southfacing, at the
Fronsac plateau’s highest elevation and planted on
soils rich in sandstone, limestone and clay. The grapes
are hand harvested at optimum ripeness and totally
destemmed before being fermented in a mixture of
temperature-controlled, French oak barriques and
stainless steel tanks. The wine is then aged in oak (75%
new) for 18 months. It is bottled unfiltered.
James Suckling 92/3 pts | Decanter 92pts
Le Blanc de Fontenil
In 2016 the Rolland’s replanted one hectare of the vineyard with Sauvignon Blanc, Sauvignon Gris, Muscadelle and Semillon in deference to Bordeaux’s traditions, plus a parcel of Chardonnay because, well, they love Chardonnay. The vines have hit their stride now and all feature in 2019 debut vintage of Le Blanc de Fontenil. Fermentation takes place either in concrete eggs or French oak depending on the variety. This is an enthralling white, incredibly aromatic and prodigiously long.
Le Defi de Fontenil
100% Merlot from specific, much older plots, average age 90 years. The top soil is protected from rain penetration by a specialised canvas. Alcoholic fermentation, malolactic fermentation and ageing (18 months all take place in the same barrels. This is perhaps the essence of Dany and Michel’s inimitable style – dense, chewy tannins, and layer upon layer of sumptuous, plush fruit. Spellbinding wine.
Robert Parker 90/2 pts | Decanter 94/5pts