Biodynamic Bordeaux – Château Fonroque

Whenever you see cow horns, you know Biodynamics will be the topic

Biodynamic Bordeaux
To quote Kermit the Frog, “It’s not easy being green”. If your vineyard is located in a Mediterranean climate with dry summers and warm, dry breezes, you have few worries. Organic viticulture is pretty easy, as you have few challenges with mildew, rot, pests, disease.

If, on the other hand, your vineyard is located in a Maritime climate where rain, frost, hail are threats all during the growing season, you’ve got your hands full. Mildew is a constant threat after every rain. Rain brings more green growth (not just the grapevines) and more bugs. Taking on organic viticulture or biodynamic viticulture can be a daunting task, and in Bordeaux, few have taken up the challenge.

Château Fonroque in Saint Émilion has taken up the organic/biodynamic challenge. The estate was in the Mouiex family since 1931, and under the guidance of Alan Mouiex since 2001.  Chateau Fonroque has 17.5 hectares (about 38 acres) of vineyard area, which is large for Saint Émilion. Alan became interested in more sustainable approaches to grape growing and immediately started to move toward organic viticulture. They achieved organic certification in 2006 and biodynamic certification in 2008. In fact, they were the first Grand Cru Classé winery in Saint Émilion to do so.

I had the opportunity to visit in April 2017 to see for myself biodynamics in action in Bordeaux. (click on any photo for full size slideshow, “escape” to exit)

After visiting the vineyard, we went into the winery. They were reorganizing after hosting a Biodyvin meeting of biodynamic wineries all around Europe the week before.

Chateau Fonroque Saint Emilion Grand Cru Classe, a biodynamic Bordeaux winery

Château Fonroque Saint Émilion Grand Cru Classé, a biodynamic Bordeaux winery

Chateau Fonroque Saint-Emilion Grand Cru Classé AOC 2014 (25 € at the winery, or online in the US)
Eye: Clear, medium ruby with a ruby edge.
Nose: Clean, medium- intensity. Herbal aroma, fruit is a bit quiet, ripe blueberries
Mouth: Dry, a bit austere. Medium acidity, medium- tannins. Nice strawberries and blueberries, herbal mixture. Nice medium length finish. Not flashy, but a very enjoyable, high quality wine.

Set Up Your Own Visit
If you have the opportunity to visit the Bordeaux region, make sure you allow time to visit the beautiful Right Bank. Saint Émilion is a beautiful town and the surrounding wineries are worth a visit! Like most wineries in Europe, you should plan ahead and schedule your visit here. During your visit you’ll find that biodynamics isn’t voodoo or magic, it’s just natural farming!

9 Responses to “Biodynamic Bordeaux – Château Fonroque”
  1. swanson29 says:

    Mest uppskattade!🇸🇪 Gud bevara, Joe

  2. If I may, I’d love to borrow the Kermit analogy, great post BTW!

  3. Impressive! I would imaging biodynamics is rare in Bordeaux. While there a few years ago I asked a winemaker if he used native or cultured yeast. He looked at me like I had lost my mind then said cultured, of course. Leave nothing to chance!
    I have now visited biodynamic wineries in France (not Bordeaux), Italy, Spain, and Chile. I am really growing in fascination of the practice. I think people pay way too much attention the lunar aspect and not near enough to the was it closes the fertility cycle of the vineyard as well as feeds the soil. Thanks for highlighting Chateau Fonroque!

Check out what others are saying...
  1. […] certification in 2008. I visited Chateau Fonroque in April 2016, I detailed my visit in a post here. Chateau Fonroque remains one of my favorite Bordeaux wines. Classified Saint Emilion Grand Cru […]

  2. […] Grand Cru Classé AOC 2018 ($45 at 14.5% abvFull disclosure: I’m a fan of Château Fonroque, having visited back in 2017. Château Fonroque is certified organic and biodynamic, no easy task in the rainy maritime climate […]

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