Childhood friends and wine lovers

“When I was 6, my grandfather Pons who was a wine merchant in Narbonne, introduced me to wine and its production, at 26 years old, I created a wine bar in Paris, Fontbonau came as a natural consequence.” Frédéric Engerer

“I always saw my grand father then my father and mother deeply attached to our family wine estate. In 1991, I started spending all my free time and holidays visiting wineries from all over France to get a deeper understanding of winemaking and at 30 years old, I took over the family Domaine.” Jérôme Malet.

Childhood friends, Jérôme and Frédéric decided in 1997 to conduct a first joint wine experience: a mass selection of Cabernet Sauvignon is then planted in Roussillon and a rare wine, called Marius (Vin de Pays des Côtes Catalanes) is for the first time marketed in 2004. There are now some 4,000 bottles sold on the largest markets.

In 2008, they embark on another human and wine experience and revive an estate graced by centuries of history, le lieu-dit Fontbonau. They assign the operational responsibility to Sophie Mage graduated from ENITA (National School of Agricultural Engineering) and winemaker.

Estate revival

Domaine de Fontbonau is located a few kilometers away from the Enclave des Papes, south of the Drôme Provençale. Not run at its fair value in recent years, yet the place has an extremely rich history. A Benedictine priory of the twelfth century with Carolingian foundation and built on a place of Gallo-Roman worship is adjacent to our plots of Syrah.

Archaeological excavations have revealed traces of occupation of the site as early as in the Middle Neolithic (about 3000 BC) and in Early Bronze Age (about 1500 years BC). The farm is certified as an inhabited place in the fifteenth century and was very probably a dependency of the monastery. Fontbonau is also mentioned on the map of Cassini (old French map drawn in the 18th century on the orders of Louis XV), thus attesting the recognition of the locality at that time.

Preserved, wild, enchanting, the landscape of Fontbonau consists in 70 years old Grenache vines and 30 years syrah, truffle oaks, lavender and olive trees. Since our acquisition, we have been keen on constantly upgrading this place with all due respect to local traditional cultures.

Our old vines are rooted in soil comprised of sand, silt and fine clays. The basement is made of safre, a mollasse sandstone which can easily crumbled and is composed of sand and sediment left by the inland seas in the secondary and tertiary eras.

We are fortunate to be nestled under the foothills of the Lance, some 350 meters above sea level, which protects us from excess heat and balances our wines.
The Mistral is another important component of this terroir, it often obliges Sophie to spray our vines before 6 o'clock in the morning. He sweeps our plots, dry soil after the rain, concentrates berries and allows us to keep healthy grapes.