Bordeaux Red: Canon Fronsac

The soil in the Fronsac region is very varied. On the banks of the Dordogne and the Isle, there are modern alluvial or paludal soils (sediments that derive from marsh environments). The subsoil is generally limestone from starfish (calcaire à astéries) or clayey limestone, burrowed out with galleries from which building stone and rubble stone was once quarried and where mushrooms are now still grown. This limestone bed allows excellent drainage and provides a highly suitable wine-growing terroir. To a large degree, the Canon-Fronsac wines owe their reputation to this type of starfish subsoil, which gives a spicier wine than those of its neighbors.

The appellation of Canon-Fronsac has the same regulations as Fronsac, but is a more limited area. This gets its name from the ‘Côte de Canon’, the hillside that overlooks the Dordogne, the southernmost part of the appellation.

The Château is situated on the famous right bank of Bordeaux, near the appellations of Saint Émilion and Pomerol. It is hidden in a superb valley which encompasses the plateau fronsandais and overlooks the banks of the Dordogne. Constructed in 1532, this ancient manor quickly produced great wines thanks to the excellent soil and exposure.

The lords of this stately home were tributaries to the Duchy of Fronsac which belonged to Cardinal Richelieu and later to the Grand Condé. In 1715, Jean de Boussier, squire, “late captain of the regiment of Brossia” took over the property and came to live there with his wife Anne Bayard; they increased the size of the vineyard, bought more land and went to great lengths to improve the way the vines were cultivated. Under their supervision, the structures of the Château and the winery such as we know them were constructed. Later, in 1790, the estate passed into the hands of Berthoumieu de Mauvezin, then colonel of the Army of the Rhine. Bought in 1846 by M. Boitard, the domaine was acquired in 1935 by Georges Robert, from Burgundy, who settled in Libourne after leaving the military. His nephew succeeded him near the end of the 1960’s and in 2004, Georges-Antoine Henri took over the reins of a Château that was in a bit of distress. He revitalized the vineyards, reduced yields, and instituted more quality controls which have given the property back its excellent reputation.

  • Chateau du Gazin

    The Château’s vineyard has over 30 hectares (about 75 acres) planted of which 80% lie in Canon-Fronsac and 20% in Fronsac. The quality of the soils comes from several factors: a limestone clay soil on the surface over a sub-soil of starfish limestone, some of which is found in the better vineyards of Saint-Émilion. It has a particularly favorable exposure on the hillside that absorbs much sunshine, particularly the warm afternoon sun, yet due to the proximity to the Dordogne, the vineyard does not experience wide ranges of temperature like they do up on the plateau. The drainage is also very good used to the subsoil and slopes. The vineyard is currently planted to 85% Merlot, 5% each Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Malbec, with the vines being on average 35 years old.

    Important work is done in the vineyard, taking into account the soils and subsoil. The vines have grass between the rows and the ground is plowed every autumn. The vines are pruned in a simple Guyot style, with green harvesting to limit yields according to weather, vintage, and exposure. After harvesting the grapes at the most balanced ripeness, the grapes are separated from the stems, then follow a vibrating sorting table where grapes not up to quality are removed. Each parcel is kept separate, and since they are all contiguous to the Château they can be put into the vats in less than 30 minutes from picking time. The grapes from different parcels are regrouped according to their maturity before fermentation for around 20 days. Temperature regulation allows precise control of the fermentation. Afterwards, the aging is done in oak barrels for 18 months.

    The 'Réserve Royale' is a different a different blend than the property plantings, it is 70% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Sauvingnon, 10% Cabernet Franc. The 'Reserve Royale' is made up of lots held aside for the Royal family, since the property was owned by Louis de Bourbon, Prince of Condé, the nephew of the King Henri IV, and married to the niece of Cardinal Richelieu.

    Point of Sale Wine Label Wine Bottle