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Bordeaux 2010 In Bottle: Pomerol

Written by JW. Posted in Bordeaux


There’s no doubt that 2010 is an outstanding vintage in Pomerol. As ever the winemaking seems to be more in check here than in neighbouring St Emilion. Pomerol’s clay soils too helped the vineyards cope with the drought conditions that characterized the 2010 growing season, which would have also improved grape ripening and the preservation of acidity. And it’s acidity and freshness that defines the beauty of these wines here in Pomerol in 2010. Cool nighttime conditions in August – 2010 was a dry vintage rather than heatwave – will further have helped preserve this acidity, especially so for growers who pick at optimum ripeness but who also keep a keen eye on grape acids.

This extra acid gives a wonderful grip to the wines here, which alongside the fruit and serious structure beneath may ultimately make 2010 even better in Pomerol than 2009. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a huge fan of Pomerol in ’09 but it’s a year that feels almost dangerously close to being too much of a good thing. Yes there is freshness too in 2009 but the extra grip 2010 gives, you may just end up preferring. It would be great certainly to see these vintages side by side. Of course there’s a lot of extract and density on display here too in 2010. These are big, bold and powerful wines, but it’s the acid that keeps them enticingly fleet of foot.

The picks? Of the wines shown only Chateau La Cabanne was the underachiever and it probably wouldn’t be your first port of call in the appellation in the first place. Not too much to worry about there then. La Cabanne had good enough density and extract but it just felt tired and two dimensional in what proved to be very fine and vivacious company.

At the value end, if such a thing exists in Pomerol, Chateau Beauregard looks very good in its mid-weight, appetizing guise. Chateau La Pointe really has delivered the goods in recent years. Their 2009 is exceptional and the 2011 tasted last April at the primeurs looked a very fine effort in what was a tricky vintage indeed. La Pointe 2010 looks to be every bit as good as 2009 but with an entirely different stamp. It’s more obviously structured and feels grippier too but there is lots of lush fruit here. It should be really good in five years.

Chateau Gazin has produced another beauty and almost stole the show. There is simply wonderful freshness and life here and a sea of blackcurrant and plum fruit to dip into. Chateau Clinet is seemingly as sexy and flamboyant as ever but, just as you think it’s ’09 all over again, then comes the structure and the grip that are the hallmarks of this vintage. It’s a powerful wine, very much the iron fist in the velvet glove, though being Clinet these gloves don’t come cheap. You won’t find it for less than a grand  [GB pounds] a case if you can find it at all.

Qualitatively the equal of Gazin and Clinet is Chateau Petit-Village with Chateau La Croix de Gay not at all far behind. The AXA owned Petit-Village always comes up with the goods, just as its stablemate Chateau Pichon Longueville does in Pauillac. Petit-Village’s ’10 manages an amazing dance on the palate despite the vast volumes of fruit on display. It’s all about the power and the freshness here. So take heed St Emilion boy-racers, this is how you do it. It’s not cellar hi-jinks, but nimble vineyard management and a crafty eye for picking at maturity, not over-maturity, and never at the expense of acid.

Below are the detailed notes on the wines of Pomerol tasted at the UGCB event in Covent Garden in November 2012.

Chateau Beauregard

Deepish; spicy plum, fresh cherry; ripe spicy plum and blackcurrant characters on the palate; little leaf and menthol note; good chew and sap on the finish; appetizing. Medium bodied leafy blackcurrant/plum style. Nice and very drinkable. 90

Chateau Clinet

Deep and arterial; sexy, savoury nose with black fruits’ very deep; lost of spicy notes; lots of sweet extract and material on the plate; lush to begin with then comes the structure and the grip. Lots of elements. Not as satiny as ’09. More tannic with a big frame beneath the lush fruit. 94

Chateau Gazin

Deep and saturated look; plums, spices, earthy tones; feels fresh and attractive; ripe, fresh fruit on the palate; good grip and satisfaction; freshness and life here, a wine you could return too. Lots of blackcurrant and plum tones to the fruit. Real zap here. Excellent effort. 94

Chateau La Cabanne

Mid depth; some chalk and chocolate; feels a tad tired; thick palate with some spice and chocolate tones. 88

Chateau La Conseillante

Deep colour; spices, plums, freshness; some leaf; nice flavours on the palate and good grip and texture; plenty of material and oomph. 92+

Chateau La Croix de Gay

Deep and tight to edge; nice leafy lift; plums, spices, earthy blackcurrants; some ink and iodine; very flattering nose; big and ripe on the palate, very consistent; lots of blackcurrants; palate saturated in fruit but there is good structure here. Very good length. Excellent. 93+

Chateau La Pointe

Thick and ripe looking; attractive nose; rich and full; ripe and saturated palate – lots of material and structure. Grippy and chewy finish. More structured than ’09 but seemingly more material and density [even]. 92+

Chateau Le Bon Pasteur

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+

Chateau Petit-Village

Deep and ripe looking; satiny, lifted red fruits; very sexy and forward; seductive; nice fresh palate with lift but that somehow [given the saturated forward fruit] doesn’t feel overdone. Grip and freshness here; more evident structure on the palate than ‘09’s beauty here. Acid gives the wine a positive finish. Excellent. 94+


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