This was classified as a Fifth Growth in the 1855 Bordeaux classification and if anything it's drifted away from the quality one might expect, and certainly it's been overtaken by a few of the crus bourgeois.
And in this 12 year old wine I didn't find anything to really blow me away. The nose had an appealing undergrowthy warmness with a bit of rotting apples, blackcurrant, wood and some toffee.
The palate was a little disappointing though, as it was pretty thin but hot. There was not a lot of fruit here, but a little sweetness and really this wine struggled to achieve more than a pass.
This is a top-notch wine; it's premier grand cru classe (level B) of Saint Emilion; I was really looking forward to cracking it open.
In the event, it was even better than I had anticipated. Eminent wine critic Robert Parker gave this vintage 96/100 and while I'm no accolyte of the man, it's good to know I own something that is held in high regard.
The nose was strong with soft earth, composty and dark mushrooms, blackberries, cherries and thyme.
It has a massive, mouth-filling palate with lots of tannins, a black fruit load and a long, velvety finish. It has a wonderfully balanced structure in which the tannins, acid, fruit and sweetness mingle happily to produce a wine of fantastic pleasure.
From the right bank in Bordeaux, Fronsac and Canon Fronsac are regarded as the little brothers of Saint Emilion and Pomerol. But while they don't have the same cache as those appellations, there's a lot to be said for their like.
Wines have been made here since the Roman times, so they know what they're doing in Fronsac. Chateau Mazeris (in the 'posher' Canon Fronsac region) has a great reputation and so it was with some excitement that I opened this 2000 vintage.
(The year 2000 was a great year for Bordeaux - maybe not as stellar as 2005 or 1995, but still superb.)
On the nose, the wine was open - its aromas were free-flowing (sometimes wines can seem 'closed') with lots of blackcurrant, a little bit of bramble, some leather and wood.
On the palate, it's intense and fruity - this is the merlot coming through. Again the blackcurrant and blackberry is there, with a little of plum and a smidgen of toffee on the very back of the finish.
It feels really, really smooth and luxuriant with silky tannins that at eight years old, are completely approachable. There's a lovely big structure - full bodied for sure - and the finish is long.
I actually think that this is a beautiful wine and for people who dip into Saint Emilion, this is a completely sensible alternative, offering what is good value. I don't think it's easy to find this quality for less than £20.