Bordeaux: the foundation of any cellar. The greatest, and most famous wine producing region in the world. The heart of fine wine production. These are all arguable. And, conveniently, there is rather a lot of it. The average left bank chateau will have an annual production of up to 20,000 cases per year, and barrel cellars the size of football pitches is not uncommon. There is no shortage of left bank Bordeaux at the moment, particularly with younger vintages.
Cross the river, though, and the story is a little different. St Emilion is a patchwork of both property and style; continue to Pomerol and it is as if you’re in a different region.
At 800 or so hectares, Pomerol is roughly the same size as St Julien, though that is where the similarities end. Take just five St Julien properties: Lagrange, Gruaud-Larose and Leovilles Poyferre and Lascases, and you’ve filled half of the Pomerol vineyards. Pomerol is much more Burgundian in its make up: an appellation in Bordeaux where the vignerons are true artisans.
This artisanal edge runs throughout the region, from Lafleur and Le Pin to the lesser known properties. One of our favourites, Feytit-Clinet sums this up perfectly: the first time I visited the winery, five or six years ago, we tasted in the garden (there’s not much room in the cellar). In April, Bud and I tasted their excellent, and ever so slightly Burgundian, 2013 in the kitchen. After seeing Cathedral-like barrel rooms and spaceship wineries in the Medoc, this is a welcome relief.
And this stretches to the big names too. At Le Pin, one knows when Jacques Thienpont is around as his bicycle is parked outside. And at Lafleur, Baptiste Guinaudeau understood perfectly when I asked, rather sheepishly, if I could take a picture of his Land Rover for my Land Rover mad three year old. Pomerol, I think it is fair to say, is about people.
We have set our Bordeaux Buyer, Bud Cuchet, the task of finding us some parcels of choice Pomerol, big names and little, and we will be offering them over the coming week. If any of these are of interest then please do let us know. In the meantime, my nap for excellent drinking is this:
2011 Les Colombiers de Feytit Clinet, Pomerol
GBP 140 per dozen in bond
It is no secret that we are huge fans of Feytit Clinet; a property to follow. In April we tried their 2011 second wine and we were seduced. This is incredibly good value:
“Bright and fresh nose. A fresh meadow on a sunny morning. Very pretty, very floral. And this follows with a lovely, bouncy, energetic sweet mouth with some real Pomerol character coming through at the end. Persistent; elegant. Brilliant luncheon Pomerol.”
Joss FowlerDirector of Fine Wine