Château Fonbadet, Pauillac 2012

Dense ruby color; cherry, blackcurrant on the nose; blackcurrant, black cherry, plum on the palate.

This has the fruit intensity and structure you expect from Pauillac without mouth-puckering tannin; light-medium body; supple; no faults; relatively simple; graphite and pencil shavings make cameo appearances. Invites drinking now. Bordeaux blend: 60% cabernet sauvignon, 20% merlot, 15% cabernet franc, 5% petit verdot and malbec.

Château Fondabet is located in the heart of Pauillac; their scattered vineyard rows are next to those of Mouton and Lafite. Winemaker Pascale Peyronie jokes every year those storied châteaus inadvertently harvest a Fondabet row and then allow Fondabet to pick some Mouton or Lafite. Bottom line: with Fondabet you get to taste wine made from almost the same fruit, same terroir used in legendary wines that cost mega-multiple times more.

The château traces roots to the early 1800s. It is named for geography: fon is “fountain,” badet is “little valley”; Fondabet means “fountain in the little valley.” The Peyronie family has owned the château for four generations; patriarch Pierre Peyronie managed Château Lafite Rothschild at the time he gained control of Fondabet. At the same time, the grandfather of Pierre’s wife managed Château Mouton-Rothschild. You would be hard-pressed to have more blue blood (since this is wine, maybe red blood) heritage among the owners and winemakers.

Château Fonbadet, Pauillac 2012 allows you to taste Bordeaux royalty at a petite bourgeoisie price. Gift yourself this privilege. Superb value-for-price pour. $42-45.

Château Fonbadet website

Other photos: Château Fonbadet, Château Fonbadet vineyard