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Bordeaux 2009 Revisited: Pomerol

Written by JW. Posted in Bordeaux

IMG_4413A dozen 2009 Pomerols were shown by the MW Institute last November. I can say hand on heart that the wines were an absolute joy. Many will repay further cellaring but pretty much all of them can be enjoyed already for their youthful vibrancy and lush fruit. Clinet, La Conseillante, L’Eglise Clinet, Gazin and La Fleur-Pétrus have produced tremendous wines here but there’s real excitement too at the ‘lower’ echelons. For me Clos René, La Pointe and Petit-Village have produced fabulous Pomerol while the likes of Beauregard, Nénin and Domaine de Eglise, whilst perhaps not in the same league, have produced wonderfully appealing, positive wines.

Overall there seems to be much more freshness and vibrancy in Pomerol than in St Emilion in 2009. It’s worth mentioning that I arrived at these wines last in the tasting [having had eighty plus by that point]. If I was flagging after tasting through St Emilion, Pomerol totally perked me up. Here was a bunch of equally concentrated wines, just as saturated in flavour, but somehow not remotely tiring to taste.

Most Pomerols are produced in small quantities and prices aren’t cheap for the most sought after in 2009 but you really won’t be disappointed by what’s in the glass. And, for me, the real interest as a consumer here is in the supposedly more ‘junior’ properties. There is wonderful depth and vibrancy to Château La Pointe. To my mind if you are looking for a great introduction to the vintage and the appellation, look no further. La Pointe has made great strides in recent years [it has made impressive wines in 2011 and 2012 too] and I’m pretty sure that the price has not yet caught up with the quality.

Château Petit-Village and Clos René are at a similar quality level in this vintage. Petit-Village remains a silky number though it has definitely tightened up a bit since its last showing. Still there is plenty going on and much promise. Clos René is more forward but there is such freshness that the abundant fruit does not overwhelm. I’ve not had Clos René recently [the 1971 was very much alive when tasted a decade or so ago] but I was impressed with this 2009.

Château Beauregard is nicely ripe and full with a lot of plummy, spicy fruit. This is usually good value Pomerol. You can’t fault it in 2009. Château Nenin has the wherewithal of the Délon group whose properties also include Château Léoville-Las-Cases in St Julien and Château Potensac in the Médoc. They’ve had Nenin a good while now and the results are increasingly impressive. There’s power and structure evident in Nenin, though less complexity perhaps than La Pointe and Petit-Village. This is one 2009 Pomerol that does need a few years but there’s plenty of polish and style here.

Château Gazin has had a great run of form recently. This is a very impressive 2009 with plenty of fruit but also considerable depth and complexity. Prices are up a little here but still this is excellent vino for the money.

There’s not that much between the top four Pomerols shown at the tasting. Even if we were sans Evangile, Pétrus, Le Pin, Lafleur and Trotanoy, then Clinet, La Conseillante, L’Eglise-Clinet and La Fleur-Pétrus more than made up for it. They show the breathtaking depth that Pomerol displays qualitatively in 2009.

Château Clinet has firmed up a little but this remains a complex multi-layered Pomerol that shows even more weight and extract than it did early on. It will be long-lived. Château La Conseillante has more immediate delicacy and fascinating aromatics. The palate shows brilliantly judged extraction and great length. It’s the first chance I’ve had to taste Château L’Eglise-Clinet and Château La Fleur-Pétrus in 2009. They are very impressive. L’Eglise-Clinet has lots of material and extract. It is very dense but the fruit is lush and there is freshness. La Fleur-Pétrus is a wonder. This is super-attractive yet nuanced wine, delicate with wonderful harmony. None of these come cheap I’m afraid but the beauty is seductive, the power, deceptive.

Let me finish with a sporting analogy, one that will probably be lost on many, so forgive me. If the dozen 2009 Pomerols shown by the MW Institute were compared to an international cricket team, surely they would be akin to the West Indies at the height of their domination of world cricket in the 1970s. The West Indies then were blessed with the most flamboyant, eye-catching players, a team that batted all the way down to eleven, and which was balanced perfectly by five deadly bowlers. Such was their embarrassment of riches back then that even their twelfth man, after spending all day in the pavilion, with the occasional sortie to ferry out jumpers and the interval drinks, would likely take to the field in the last half-hour and steal the show with several remarkable catches and a run out.

Even if you can’t fathom cricket, or are too young to remember Haynes, Greenidge, Richards, Marshall, Roberts, Holding and Garner et al, you surely get my drift. The depth and breadth that Pomerol displays in 2009 is breathtaking – and exceptional.

The following dozen wines were tasted at Vintner’s Hall in London as part of the MW Institute’s Annual Claret tasting.

Château Beauregard

Deep and saturated look; very ripe full notes; saturated with plums and Cabernet Franc ripeness; pretty big on the palate with lots of extract and spices; chewy and full. Drink now – 2025. 90

Château Le Bon Pasteur

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

Château Clinet

Deep and arterial; really saturated; inky and saturated aromas, less overt than shortly after bottling but clearly full; plush palate, rich and seductive; fleshy and very fresh. Lots of extract and grip with more chew than before, clearly this filling out. It feels bigger and more structured than before. Pretty dramatic effort but the fruit is dazzling and not at all plodding. Needs time now. 2017-2030. 95+

Château La Conseillante

Deep and saturated look; spicy blackcurrant and plum aromas, stone fruits and some wet rocks; remarkable freshness here with blackcurrant cassis notes, menthol and fruit tones; ripe palate, very fresh and enjoyable; some tannin here to resolve and unfurl; needs time but this wine isn’t at all over extracted in the cellar. Lovely wine. A beauty. Drink in a few years [possibly now if decanted] but has the structure to last. Better than Clinet on the day. Drink 2015-2035. 96

Château L’Eglise Clinet

Thick and dense looking; ripe and pure fruit with plums and black fruit aromatics; lovely purity here; big and dense on the palate; lots of fruit but also lushness; has density but also vibrancy. Chewy tannins on the finish suggest longevity. Drink 2017-2035+. 95

Château La Fleur-Pétrus

Deep and concentrated; healthy looking; spices, black fruits, plums and some undergrowth; very more-ish; more delicacy on the palate here and a very attractive balance between the fruit and the freshness which gives wonderful tension; great length. This is a great wine with such harmony, freshness and balance. Drink 2015 – 2030. 96+

Château Gazin

Deep and saturated; earthy, spices and plums; pretty thick and a little reductive; some jam here too when it opens up; thick but attractive; black fruits, some freshness and perfume; blackcurrants and spicy notes. Ripe and big with considerable structure beneath the fruit. Very satisfying. Drink now – 2030. 94+

Château Nenin

Deep and saturated; ripe and silky open nose; quite unctuous and creamy; nicely lifted; more muscular on the palate than the nose suggests; quite thick and tannic on the end. Needs five years I reckon. Sturdy Pomerol rather than beautiful. Drink 2017-2030. 91+

Château Petit-Village

Deep and saturated; lifted and silky on the nose with earthy plum tones alongside soft Cabernet Franc notes; cereal and cream; some chew on the finish but lots of depth. Needs five years and has closed up a little since bottling. Drink 2017-2030. 93+

Château La Pointe

Deep looking; lovely creamy blackcurrant fruit with nicely interwoven oak; unctuous and big on the palate but retains freshness; boat load of plumy fruit here with spicy tones. Wonderfully enjoyable already! Drink now – 2030. 93+

Clos René

Deep and saturated; some spice, inky Cabernet Franc notes; purity here and pretty deep; fresh palate, not cloying as some zap and lots of lovely fruit; very attractive overall. Drink now – 2030. 92+

Domaine de L’Eglise

Deep and saturated; open, lifted, some sublimated notes; leaf and coffee tone; pretty deep and mealy; interesting tones; chewy and dense with a gritty finish. Quite chewy. Needs a bit of time. Drink 2017-2025. 89+

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