Château Le Pin is, without doubt, one of the most famous names in wine. A vinous icon and one of the three great names of Pomerol alongside Pétrus and Château Lafleur. Today it is one of the rarest, most expensive and finest red wines of Bordeaux – if not the world. Le Pin produces just 600 to 700 cases each year, a truly minuscule quantity that is dwarfed in comparison to the First Growths of the Right Bank. To put this amount into perspective, even the relatively rare neighbouring Pétrus makes around 4000 cases per year.
Château Le Pin is certainly the youngest of all the icons from the Right Bank and is a wine that became an almost overnight success thanks to the critical acclaim it received from the 1982 vintage (only the property's fourth vintage). Combined with the tiny production levels and the wines' collectability, this saw the market price rise to stratospheric levels. It will surprise many to learn that the exclusive Le Pin hails from humble beginnings. The land was owned by the Loubie family for over five decades, from the 1920s, during which time its wine was sold as generic Pomerol. The vineyard was then bought in 1979 by Jacques Thienpont, a Belgian whose family have worked in wine since the 1840s. His cousin is the current owner of Vieux Château Certan. Thienpont named his new acquisition Le Pin, after a single pine tree that shaded the property and gradually expanded the vineyard to 2.7 hectares by purchasing slivers of land from adjacent producers. If there is one thing that stands out in people’s minds when discussing Le Pin, it is the price tag. The value of this wine has skyrocketed over the years, causing it to vie with Pétrus for the position of most expensive wine. However, it isn’t only the wine that has changed price; while Thienpont initially bought the land for a reputed one million francs (around €153,000), it is now estimated to be worth in the region of €1-2,000,000 per hectare. Similarly, a case of the vanguard 1982 vintage will now set you back more than £50,000, whereas on release it would have been just a couple of hundred pounds.