Appears in
Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

  • About

Fronsac, small but once famed red wine appellation in the Bordeaux region just west of the town of Libourne on the right bank of the River dordogne (see map under bordeaux). The wooded low hills of Fronsac, and Canon-Fronsac, the even smaller and more famous appellation to the immediate south, constitute Bordeaux’s prettiest countryside, and the region’s elevation, unusual so close to the Gironde estuary, gave it great strategic importance. Fronsac was the site of a Roman temple, and then of a fortress built by charlemagne, who is locally supposed to have taken a particular interest in this wine. The wine benefited further in the mid 17th century when the Duc de Richelieu, also Duc de Fronsac and a man of considerable influence, replaced the fortress with a villa in which he entertained frequently. According to Enjalbert, the first great right-bank wines were produced, around 1730, in Canon-Fronsac. Even well into the 19th century, the wines of Fronsac were much more famous than those of pomerol on the other side of Libourne.