Tour du Pin got the team quite excited. This St Emilion property is owned and managed by the Cheval Blanc team and their 2009 is stunning. There are beautiful ripe fruit aromas on the nose and suave fruit on the palate This is gently extracted is effortless and lacy, possesses great energy and focus, and is built upon velvety tannins. A really classy and seductive wine.
In a region steeped in history and establishment, Tour du Pin is a mere flash in the pan. Its story is best described as short and sweet. The vineyards originally formed part of the great Figeac estate, but in 1879 the Corbière family purchased the land and formed Chateau La Tour Figeac. In 1881, the estate was split down the middle with half the estate renamed La Tour du Pin Figeac.
The estate was later bought by Antoine Moueix and remained in the Moueix family until 2006 when Pierre Lurton of Cheval Blanc saw the potential of the site. In 2008 the name was changed to Chateau Tour du Pin. With the technical know-how of Cheval Blanc behind them, the Chateau started to make huge leaps in quality. We fondly remember tasting the magnificent 2009 at Cheval Blanc and being instantly smitten, this was followed up by the even more impressive 2010 (93RP).
They say that all good things must come to an end, but Chateau Tour du Pin’s demise was somewhat abrupt and ignominious. When the powers that be in St Emilion reclassified the vineyards in 2012, the best portion of Tour du Pin was upgraded to Premier Grand Cru Classé "A" status and incorporated into Cheval Blanc. Tour du Pin has subsequently disappeared. So there were only ever five vintages of Tour du Pin produced under Cheval Blanc ownership and there won’t be any more. As such, it is a rare but delicious beast, and one we recommend hunting down. Our view is echoed by Robert Parker. “Pierre Lurton, the director of Cheval Blanc, has completely resurrected this estate since it was acquired by the owners of Cheval Blanc... Well worth a search of the marketplace as purchasers will get all the savoir faire of the Cheval Blanc wine making team combined with a very good vineyard that has been admirably resurrected”.
St-Émilion is a very different region to those of the Médoc, dominated by small-holding farmers and estates rather than grand Châteaux. Merlot is widely planted as is Cabernet Franc in some parts. The wines are enormously variable in style depending on the terroir, the grape variety make-up and winemaking style. Loosely the region is divided between the limestone Côtes, Graves or gravelly limestone plateau or the sandy alluvial soils nearer the Dordogne. Traditionally Médoc wines were trade from Bordeaux and St Emilions from Libourne so they have their own classification system separate to that of 1855. The classification is revised every ten years and falls into four categories, St Emilion, St Emilion Grand Cru, St Emilion Grand Cru Classé and St Emilion Premier Grand Cru Classé
Most of the district's best properties are either on the steep, clay-limestone hillsides immediately below the town or on a gravelly section of the plateau west of St Emilion itself abutting Pomerol. There are several high profile estates in the region, including Cheval Blanc, Ausone, Figeac, Le Dôme, Valandraud and Pavie.