Wine Words & Video Tape

Wine, Words and Videotape

Fine Wine Review site

Château Le Bon Pasteur


Address: 33500 Pomerol

Telephone: +33 (0)5 57 51 52 43



Owned until recently by the famous Libourne based oenologist Michel Rolland, Château Le Bon Pasteur can produce wonderfully rich Pomerol which at its best is sweet, sexy and full of flavour. In 2013 Rolland sold Le Bon Pasteur [along with two other properties] to Chinese businessman Pan Sutong, citing his brother’s demand to realise his financial share in the property. Rolland remains winemaker and a shareholder. Rolland was portrayed rather sharply in the 2004 documentary film Mondovino. It’s a hugely enjoyable film, but not I suspect if you were a participant in it. No one, not Robert Parker, the Mondavis, Aime Guibert or Hubert de Montille are spared. Rolland, I have read, felt the film misrepresented him, certainly his enthusiasm for ‘micro-oxygenation’. In one montage sequence it seems to be the only the only thing Rolland is barking into his phone. I think any level headed viewer would see this as caricature. There is some variation in Château Le Bon Pasteur in my experience, and in some vintages the wood and extraction can seem a little overdone. 2005 remains the benchmark for me, better balanced than 2009 and 2010 which feel big and weighty.

Vineyard/Terrior: 7 hectares on a mix of clay/gravel and clay/sandy soils planted with 80% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Franc all averaging over thirty years of age. Manually harvested into small boxes.

Winemaking/Elevage: Sorting before and after de-stemming. Fermentation in small steel tanks with temperature controlled followed by malolactic in barrel and aged for 15-18 months in 100% new oak.  Production 20,000-30,000 bottles.

Tasting notes:

  • 2015 Deep and saturated look; opaque at core; some smoke, charcoal and black fruits; little savoury, meaty note; attractive black cherry sweetness; cool entry on the palate; black cherry, blackcurrant and dark chocolate. Lots of fruit here along with the oak. Actually not over-done and nicely handled palate. [80% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc, 14.5%]. Tasted UGCB 6/4/16. Drink 2020-2030+ 92-94+
  • 2014 Deeply coloured; purple at edge; seductive fruit and pain grillé notes; black fruits and plums; sexy; very seductive sample; fragrant plums and black cherry fruit; fresh acidity; vivid style; fruit creamy and fragrant. Nice texture. Length too. Excellent effort. [80% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc]. Tasted UGC 1st April ’15. Drink 2019-2028. 91-93
  • 2013 Mid depth; some purple at edge; little dumb at first, then spices and black fruits on aeration; extract and wood on the palate; needs to settle; oak feels a little dominant over the elegant fruit [as it usually is early on here]; some sap and bite here at the end; interestingly not overdone on the finish. Extraction held in check somewhat. Imagine it will meld quite well. [85% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Franc]. Drink 2018-2026. Tasted UGCB April 2, 2014. 86-88+
  • 2012 Mid depth; saturated at centre; full and sweet with wet rock notes; some cream and plum tones with spicy highlights; quite approachable on the palate and not overdone. Soft and easy with attractive fruit and some grip on the finish. Drink 2015-2025. 88 UGC Oct ’14 [Earlier note] Deep and saturated looking; nice blackcurrant and black cherry tones; fruit not masked; pretty plummy with some spice; creamy palate, lots of fruit but also oak and quite a lot of oak on the finish. All fermented in barrique. Nice purity, not sure about the use of wood. Lets see how it settles. 89-91+ Tasted at UGC 10 April 2013
  • 2011 Mid depth; inky and sublimated nose; resin, spice and intensity; chewy palate with spicy fruit; depth and structure. Very worked style but the fruit is there and there is not the excessively dry unfinished quality found in some of those that have well and truly over-extracted. I’d expect this to come good. Drink 2015-2026. 88+ UGC Oct ’13 [Earlier note] Deepish; more bubble gum but also creamy notes; minerality; quite extracted palate; needs to settle; dense, tannic and grippy. Lots of depth but furry tannins on the finish. 85-87? [Second] Deep and saturated; red fruits, some jam, stone and wet earth; very opulent and jammy style; lots of extract and tannin on the palate; wood tannin too; feels very pushed and oaky. Very puckering finish. Way needs to settle. 85-87? April 2012
  • 2010 Deep and saturated looking; sweet and lush; ripe black fruits and liquorice; some ‘new car interior’ notes; sweet and ripe palate with more lush red fruit tones; ripe and rather rich. Drink now-2030. 92 MW Institute Nov ’14 [Earlier note] Mid depth; sexy open nose with red fruits and lift; lots of density to the palate; quite chewy and extracted. Will be fine but needs to settle. 90+ UGC 2012 [Earlier] Deep and arterial; legs; dense at the centre; ripe and smoky; cherries, very attractive; soft creamy palate; very sweet and ripe; almost like essence. Big and weighty but with some grip. Lots of flavour. 91-93+/100 Tasted 6 April  Le Cercle Rive Droite
  • 2009 Thick and saturated looking; ripe and red fruits; very lifted nose; some marzipan; whole berry; thick and big, extracted style; bit stewed but some vibrancy to the inky fruit. Some chew on the finish. Big and thick. Drink 2016-2030. 91 MW Institute Nov ’13
  • 2007 Thick and very dark looking; earthy, some tea and meat; polished palate; tannic but not drying and lots of blackcurrant fruit washing around. Pretty good effort. 89+/100 MW Institute Nov ’11.
  • 2005 Deep; black red; soft nose, more damsons; plumy and plump and very attractive; fleshy and sweet and quite sexy; sweet ripe palate; chewy but plump; good concentration; sappy palate; real ripeness here, you can appreciate its vital qualities even now. Excellent, concentrated sexy wine. 92-94+/100 Sept ‘09

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