As we packed our three cars and made our annual migration from the Left Bank over to the Right for our last days in Bordeaux, we put together the mosaic of the 2011 Bordeaux vintage. Although weather patterns can tell part of the story, there is no substitution for one-on-one conversations with vignerons, and, of course, tasting the actual wines. It was at a negociant tasting where Denis Durantou’s wines singlehandedly confirmed our suspicions that Pomerol may be appellation of the vintage. So directly afterwards, we did what any savvy Bordeaux buyer would do – we squished three into the back seat and made the long trek across the Gironde and Dordogne rivers into Pomerol.
Aside from a quick trip to Chateau Le Gay in 2010 and one ill-advised “back roads” (long story) journey to Cheval Blanc last year, I had actually never been to the village of Pomerol - and I almost missed it once again. The only business of note in the tiny town was a small office of La Poste, and what I can only describe as an open-air junk shop with a man in overalls tinkering away. The rest of the landscape was all low slung buildings and a gentle sea of vines. (more…)
Terroir and the Art of Assemblage: Vieux Chateau Certan
Post by Devon Magee | April 4th, 2012
Vieux Chateau Certan
2011 is decidedly not 2010 or 2009, yet from our week of intensive tastings in Bordeaux, it is clear that Pomerol is at the least, one of the standouts of the appellation and the vintage. Might cabernet franc play a role? According to Alexandre Thienpont, Vieux Chateau Certan’s owner and winemaker, yes. Here in the gravel and clay soils of Pomerol, fully ripe cabernet franc gives the wine a distinctive violet perfume. And for the first time in more than a decade, the variety ripened fully and uniformly. Its success in Pomerol is a defining characteristic of this singular vintage.
While in Bordeaux, a few of my colleagues and I were fortunate enough to visit one of my favorite Pomerol estates, Chateau Clinet. Quintessential Pomerol, the grapes show a high proportion of merlot (85% in 2010 from super low yielding old vines) and are hand harvested and hand sorted. This stuff should cost about as much as a small yacht by today’s standards in Pomerol, but in reality, the wines are extremely well priced.
In fact, you can purchase the 2009 Clinet (which earned 97-100, Robert Parker) for a hair over $175, whereas 2009 Petrus will cost you a few thousand for about the same size production and almost the same score (RP96-100). The 2010 is a brilliant wine much like the 2009, super dark, super lush, and just plain sexy. It’s hard to say yet what will happen to prices for the 2010s, but one can only hope there will be enough Clinet to go around. (more…)