2014 Château Fonbadet (Pauillac)
by JJ Buckley Fine Wines
There’s no great mystery as why Pauillac is one of the world’s most prestigious winemaking regions. Per Jancis Robinson, the appellation “has the unparalleled distinction of boasting three of the five first growths...as well as a bevy of other classed growths rivaling them (and each other) with increasing insistence.” No serious Bordeaux cellar can be complete without a healthy stock of Pauillac, but there’s more to the story than the Grand Cru Classé.
Look no further than the 2014 Fonbadet, a double 93-pointer which is, per Neal Martin, “ideal for those who could not afford the First Growth this year!” Per Wine Enthusiast, Fonbadet’s status as “one of the rare properties in Pauillac that is not a classified growth...alone makes it a good value."
Pauillac’s non-classified estates are few and far between. Over the years, the larger players in the area have absorbed their smaller neighbors. The classified growths will pay a premium to extend their vineyards by even a couple of hectares, and the temptation to sell can be hard to avoid. Fonbadet is owned by the Peyronie family, who, per Chris Kissack, “would rather invest and continue the family business rather than sell up.”
Head of the family is Pierre Peyronie, former manager of Lafite Rothschild. Kissack asserts that Pierre’s “tenacity has been transmitted to the next generation”, in the form of his daughter Pascale who now runs the estate. Pascale joined her father in 1991 and has also worked at Mouton Rothschild. Trusted consultant here is Eric Boissenot, Médoc specialist with a seriously impressive client list including all three Pauillac first growths. For an unclassified estate, that’s a lot of classified growth savoir-faire.
Talented and capable as the team may be, much of Fonbadet’s success must be attributed to its terroir. Truly, Fonbadet is right in the thick of things. Parker notes that Fonbadet’s vineyard land is “sandwiched between Latour, Mouton Rothschild, Lynch Bages and Pichon Lalande.” Jancis Robinson calls this part of Bordeaux “Cabernet Sauvignon country par excellence.” Fonbadet may not be a household name, but its fruit comes from the same hallowed ground as some bona fide icons.
Fonbadet 2014 truly punches above its weight and price point and Neal Martin suggests that it's “well worth seeking out”. Luckily, you don’t have to look to hard! We’ve got a parcel of Fonbadet 2014 direct from Bordeaux and ready for your cellar. It’s not every day that an age-worthy Pauillac QPR gem comes along, so we suggest you act accordingly and stock up now! Cheers!