Le Pin, Pomerol , 2016

  Le Pin

Jacques Thienpont's extraordinary vineyard in Pomerol produces one of the most remarkable wines in the world. It is exuberant, as fragrant and complex as Richebourg, tense and vibrant, and always a pure delight to taste, whether from barrel, tank or bottle... We had a sneak preview at the 2016 in October when we were tasting the 2015. Alcoholic fermentations had finished and we could clearly see the purity and potential of the fruit. Tasting in April the nose is slightly reductive and brooding, which is unusual for Le Pin, normally we can wax lyrical about the breadth of the bouquet. With aeration, notes of flowers and strawberry liqueur emerge. On the palate, the quality of the fruit is immediately recognisable. This is a large-scale Le Pin with superb density and energy. Its multidimensional palate reveals detailed floral fruit and minerals little by little. Texturally this is quite superb - it coats the mouth with a seductive velvety robe of pure lavish fruit: olallieberry, loganberry and detailed lingonberries. It is pure delight to taste, but hints at the long future that lies ahead - this is one of the most muscular and profound Le Pins we have ever tasted.

Contains Sulphites.

About Le Pin

By Bordeaux standards, Le Pin is a relative newcomer, but in its short history it has gained a reputation as one of the most exotic and intoxicating wines in the region and has achieved cult status. Situated next to the village of Catusseau, on the edge of the plateau of Pomerol, Jacques Thienpont’s miniscule production is the stuff of collectors’ dreams. Anyone who has been lucky enough to taste or drink this rarefied nectar will attest to its wonder – it has a unique perfume, an opulence, a decadence and charm that is unrivalled in Bordeaux. Many tasters draw parallels to Richebourg and the great Grand Crus of Vosne Romanee, such is its aromatic complexity and refinement.

Produced from 100% Merlot on a terroir of clay, gravel, sand and deposits of iron oxide on a gently sloping elevation. In places the gravel is really deep (up to 3m). Jacques reportedly bought the original 2 hectare site in 1979 for one million French Francs – a considerable amount of money in those days, but laughably small by modern day vineyard transactions. Initial vintages were hard to sell. It wasn’t until Robert Parker bestowed 100 points on the 1982 that it found a following. With an average production of just 500 cases per year, demand soon far out stripped supply and prices started to escalate.

Jacques was probably one of the first wine-makers in Bordeaux to do malolactic fermentation in barrel, a practice more commonly associated with Burgundy. This allegedly happened out of necessity in the early years as they didn’t have enough tanks… It clearly worked and a string of exquisite and hedonistic wines followed. It is extraordinary to think that these spellbinding wines were produced in such a basic cellar. In 2012, the new winery was completed and Le Pin has a fitting chai for this astonishing terroir.

Jacques kindly hosted a dinner at our offices in February 2017. It was a rare treat to drink such a magnificent line-up of mature vintages. Perhaps the wine of the evening was the least revered vintage, the 1994. This was a truly magical wine that flourished throughout the evening and exemplified the Le Pin style – a truly regal wine.

Appellation: Pomerol

Pomerol’s Merlot-dominated wines at their best are rich, seductive and silky. For hundreds of years Pomerol was considered as nothing but a satellite district of neighbouring St-Émilion to the east, and it was not really until not until the 1950s that Pomerol started its meteoric rise led by Château Petrus. By far the most dominant merchants in the region are Jean-Pierre Moueix who own or distribute the majority of the finest properties in Pomerol, the most renowned being Petrus.

Pomerol's finest wines originate from the highest parts of the plateau, which is predominantly gravel and clay, with an iron rich subsoil called crasse de fer.
Apparently as important in fashioning wines that are plump, voluptuous, and richly Merlot dominates plantings dramatically, though the notable exception is Vieux Château Certan, nearly half of their estate is devoted Cabernet Franc. Pomerol has no no official classification, but its small scale wines fetch some of the greatest prices for wine in the world. The regions greatest names are Pétrus, Lafleur, Certan de May, Hosanna, La Fleur de Gay, L'Église-Clinet, Le Pin, La Conseillante, Trotanoy, , L'Évangile, Latour-à-Pomerol, and Vieux-Ch-Certan

Grape Type: Merlot

The supple, alluring plummy characteristics of Merlot have made it hugely popular the world over. It is often blended with the more structured Cabernet Sauvignon, though on its own there are some very serious, long-lived examples in Pomerol and Saint Emilion, where it is planted on both cool clay and hotter gravely soils. It is grown more extensively throughout France and the rest of the world to produce soft, approachable, uncomplicated wines, namely in the Languedoc, Chile, California, Italy and Australia.