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Bordeaux Primeurs 2013: Pomerol

Written by JW. Posted in Bordeaux

IMG_5672Overall in 2013 Pomerol has not made wines as good as in 2011 and 2012. Perhaps the quality lies somewhere between 2007 and 2008, though the acidity seems more marked than in both those years. There are successes but also disappointments. At the Cercle Rive Droite tasting, Pomerol was outplayed by the St Emilion Grand Crus Classé shown. At the Union des Grand Crus de Bordeaux tasting the standard felt better, but if the wines were more consistent, they felt a little compact, sometimes lacking expression, strange in an appellation not usually shy in coming forward. Not even Pomerol’s natural exuberance can quite defy the gravity of the 2013 vintage it seems.

It’s perhaps no surprise that the properties with the better terroirs and greater resources produced the most successful wines. The growing season was disrupted by a cold start to the season with rain during flowering which reduced yields and played havoc with fruit set. With a late and small crop on the cards wet harvest conditions and the threat of rot did force an earlier than hoped for harvest. The best wines have freshness, vibrancy and good fruit, the worst are thin and hard.

I was impressed yet again with Château Nénin, part of the Delon group. They made a vibrant and pretty Pomerol with attractive sap and freshness. For them it’s a better wine than they produced in 2004 and 2007, one they feel resembles 2008. I can agree with that. At the UGCB Château Gazin, Château La Conseillante, Château Clinet and Château Petit-Village looked good. They all have nice material and reasonable depth to varying degrees and have certainly succeeded in the vintage. Still none really stood out quite as they have in the last few vintages here.

Château Le Bon Pasteur looked goodish, plenty of extract and material but not pushed too much. I thought Château La Croix de Gay was disjointed, very dominated by oak currently. Château Beauregard and Château La Pointe are elegant but both have made much more successful, immediately appealing wines in 2011 and 2012 I think. I was surprised by the quality of the wine at Château La Cabanne, a wine that was nicely judged given the conditions.

At Jean-Luc Thunevin’s cellars Le Clos du Beau-Père had all the elements. It is pretty extracted with a fair degree of chew and concentration, but was promising enough and I think it should settle pretty well. Château Franc Mallet felt a bit over extracted relative to the fruit.

As I’ve intimated in the opening the Pomerols tasted at the Cercle Rive Droite were a bit of a disappointing bunch overall. The best are good-ish efforts. Amongst these were Clos du Clocher, Château Montviel, Château La Fleur de Gay and Château Feytit-Clinet, but even these are hardly wines to shout from the rooftops about.

There are quite a few producers at the Cercle who normally impress but which are disappointments in 2013. Generally these were wines that felt either much too lean, high in acid or where the wood and winemaking had forced the wines out of shape. Often this led them to feel dry and puckering on the palate. In this category I’d have to put Clos de la Vieille Eglise, Château La Clémence, Château Vieux Maillet, Château Taillefer and Château Mazeyres. I’m not writing these wines off at such an early stage and they may all show better after elévage but I’m not that hopeful. There are also a number of wines that simply lack concentration such as Château Bellegrave and Château Lécuyer. They are elegant but not memorable. My notes, arranged below loosely in alphabetical order, speak for themselves.

Overall unless prices are much lower than 2012 and 2011 [and given the small quantities produced in 2013 this is unlikely] I think you’d be better off revisiting these last two vintages in Pomerol. The 2011s are very good and in bottle now and the 2012s are a generally strong bunch.

As reported in the previous post, Pomerols from the JP Moueix stable were fresh and unforced if generally light in 2013. I’ve also included these notes again for comparison, as well as those on Vieux Château Certan, which for me along with Château Trotanoy, were the best Pomerols I had during primeurs week. I didn’t get a chance to taste Château L’Eglise Clinet, Château L’Evangile or Château Pétrus.

Le Clos du Beau-Père, Pomerol

Deep and saturated; legs; ripe and thick with black cherry notes and no trace of green; layered palate, ripe and rich, somewhat chewy but not over-extracted, just big. Drink 2018-2027. Tasted Jean-Luc Thunevin April 2, 2014. 86-88

Clos du Clocher, Pomerol

Deep and fresh looking; saturated; perfume and violet lift [from the oak?]; also herbal/violet lift; some iodine; creamy entry; similar fruit tones [consistent]; not unattractive; quite polished overall; attractive. Not too acid. Soft overall. Early maturing style. Good in the context of the vintage. Drink 2018-2024. Tasted Cercle Rive Droite, March 30, 2014. 85-87

Clos l’Eglise, Pomerol

Deep looking; tighter to rim and fractionally more vibrant; similarly styled but a fraction more lush and layered; some toffee; black fruit and liqourice; also a hint of undergrowth; harder palate; extracted and wood tannins; disjointed and pushed fruit; dry beneath; needs to settle and connect better; probably will be OK as it has the substance but a little drying and disjointed currently. Drink 2018-2026. Tasted Cercle Rive Droite, March 30, 2014. 84-86?

Clos de la Vieille Eglise, Pomerol

Mid depth; some violets and lift but feels light [some sour cherry hints] and acid; hard palate due to the acid – very hard and mean. Some spice but this is extremely mean I’m afraid. Drink 2018-2024. Tasted Cercle Rive Droite, March 30, 2014. 78-80.

Clos Vieux Taillefer, Pomerol

Deep and saturated; purple at the meniscus; fresh with cherry fruit evident [less worked style than some]; not bad; full but fruit a little sour and hard-edged. Still has freshness. May come good. Drink 2018-2024. Tasted Cercle Rive Droite, March 30, 2014. 82-84.

Château Bellegrave, Pomerol

Deep looking; earthy purple at edge; some savour; violets; feels like it will be ‘fresh’; freshness and elegance; easy and quite soft overall; rather too elegant and weedy on the finish. Drink 2018-2024. Tasted Cercle Rive Droite, March 30, 2014. 81-83

Château Beauregard, Pomerol

Healthy colour; polished, pure and attractive; spices, some wood and purity; needs to meld a little on the palate; quite low key and not stretched. Elegant. Finishes OK. [80% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc]. Drink 2018-2024. Tasted UGCB April 2, 2014. 85-87

Château Beau Soleil, Pomerol

Mid depth; light at edge; stalky nose; blackcurrant and fruit pastel tones; some spices; lighter but fruit dominates [at least]; fresh and reductive palate; quite elegant, verging on the austere but may pick up during elévage; has some purity at least and finish is ok. Still pretty lean style. Drink 2016-2024. Tasted Cercle Rive Droite, March 30, 2014. 84-86

Château Bonalgue, Pomerol

Deeper; earthy purple at edge; wood influenced; more a mélange; coffee and some burnt notes; some acid [trifle disjointed]; a little fuller; integrated on the palate; some plum and coffee; light on the finish. Drink 2016-2024. Tasted Cercle Rive Droite, March 30, 2014. 84-86.

Château Le Bon Pasteur, Pomerol

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+

Château Bourgneuf, Pomerol

Deep; close to the rim; earthy red; nice savour and cherry fruit; like a serious Morgon [almost Burgundian]; some spice and undergrowth; fresh palate; some cherry and plum tones; little kiss of oak; lacks weight but has acidic freshness; some chew at the end. Not a bad effort in context. Fresh and complete. Tasted Rive Droite, March 30, 2014. Drink 2017-2024. 85-87+ [later note] Deeper and more substantial in colour; very attractive aromatics, perfumed violet lift and spicy plum characters; nicely integrated oak; creamy palate, plums and positive sappy qualities; nice chew and sap to the finish. Works well overall – pretty and sappy. [crop 50% down]. Drink 2018-2025. Tasted JP Moueix, April 2, 2014. 86-88+

Château Certan de May, Pomerol

Mid depth; vibrant purple at edge; spicy, inky menthol notes – not unattractive; some violet perfume too; sweet entry, sappy and vibrant; lively acidity; sappy and fresh. Drink 2018-2028. Tasted Cercle Rive Droite, March 30, 2014. 87-89

Château La Cabanne, Pomerol

Deep colour; vibrant purple at edge; quite attractive fruit driven wine on the nose; some plums and spices and reasonable depth and saturation aromatically; fullish style; soft and fruit driven; vibrant and fresh. Nice grip. Good effort from La Cabanne. [98% Merlot, 2% Cabernet Franc]. Drink 2017-2024. Tasted UGCB April 2, 2014. 86-88

Château La Clémence, Pomerol

Similar depth; little looser at the rim; earthy; bit coarser fruit tones; some strawberry; hard on the palate; mean and acid I’m afraid; puckering finish. Drink 2016-2024. Tasted Cercle Rive Droite, March 30, 2014. 76-78?

Château Clinet, Pomerol

Deep and thick; dark at centre; little dumb at first; depth clearly but lacks expression; some sweetness and density; obvious material and sap here and palate not too dry; still needs to settle. Has depth but lacks expression. [90% Merlot, 9% Cabernet Sauvignon, 1% Cabernet Franc]. Drink 2018-2026. Tasted UGCB April 2, 2014. 88-90.

Château La Conseillante, Pomerol

Elegant colour; vibrant edge; some spice and lift on the nose; oak and sweet black fruits beneath; oak present on the palate with some plum tones; sap and acidity too; some chew here suggests good material and plum and sour cherry notes on the finish. Lacks a bit of generosity for this estate but should emerge well. [82% Merlot, 18% Cabernet Franc]. Drink 2018-2026. Tasted UGCB April 2, 2014. 89-91

Château La Croix de Gay, Pomerol

Mid depth; vibrant edge; little compact on the nose; lacks aromatic profile; oak on the palate; rather dry currently and the wood sticks out through the fruit rather too much for me; fruit also a little compact and astringent finish. Needs to settle. [95% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc]. Drink 2018-2024. Tasted Cercle Rive Droite, March 30, 2014. 84-86?

Château Fayat, Pomerol

Deep and saturated; very black and tight to the rim; thickish but bit stewed aromatically; some wood; disjointed now potentially will meld; grippy fruit with acid; pretty lean; dry but fruit just carries through…still it’s lean and austere. Drink 2018-2024. Tasted Cercle Rive Droite, March 30, 2014. 83-86

Château Feytit-Clinet, Pomerol

Deep and saturated looking; spicy, some depth; quite attractive; higher toned; fuller palate; some cream; plums and black cherry notes; some spicy freshness; not that bad in a fresh way; fresh and spicy. Some zap which makes it fresh. Not bad effort, though light. Drink 2018-2024. Tasted Cercle Rive Droite, March 30, 2014. 85-87

Château La Fleur de Gay, Pomerol

Deep looking; tight to edge; earthy purple; some savour; attractive; spice; nice purity beneath and a little more complex; attractive elegance; violet and blue plum tones; fairly full overall; bit woody and disjointed on the palate currently; lots here but currently bit jumbled. Still there is good ripeness here so should come together. Drink 2017-2025. Tasted Cercle Rive Droite, March 30, 2014. 86-88

Château Lafleur-Gazin, Pomerol

Light red; purple at rim; spices and plums with stalky tones; fruit highlights are pretty; sweet-sour cherry tones; sappy palate with some chew and bite on the finish. Positive twist at the end. Drink 2018-2024. Tasted JP Moueix April 2, 2014. 86-88

Château La Fleur-Pétrus, Pomerol

Deeper colour; fresh and healthy looking; attractive spicy blackfruits; deeper and more lifted but still very pure; not at all over-cooked; sweet entry, nice spicy plum characters; quite bouncy style with good sap and grip; Sappy and refreshing. Drink 2018-2030. Tasted JP Moueix, April 2, 2014. 89-91+

Château Franc Mallet, Pomerol

Deep and saturated; full and thick looking; intense menthol and inky tones; thick and sublimated aromatics; spicy entry, full with chew; spices on the finish. Big and needs to settle. Chewy and spicy. Drink 2018-2024. Tasted Cercle Rive Droite, March 30, 2014. 84-86

Château Gazin, Pomerol

Deep and saturated colour; plums, cherry notes with a little undergrowth; fresh; sweet-ish entry with some gloss but also fresh acids; overall nicely done if a little compact. [100% Merlot]. Drink 2017-2026. Tasted UGCB April 2, 2014. 88-90+

Château La Grave, Pomerol

Lightish red; translucent core; light aromatics; soft and easy going palate with no aggression or pucker; very fresh if light. Drink 2018-2025. Tasted JP Moueix, April 2, 2014. 85-87

Château Latour à Pomerol, Pomerol

Mid depth; light-ish at edge; spicy plum aromatics; little bubblegum; freshness; creamy entry, some spice; lightweight but full of zap. Lightness of touch. Drink 2018-2025. Tasted JP Moueix, April 2, 2014. 86-88

Château Lécuyer, Pomerol

Deep and saturated; integrated nose; some red fruits; maybe lacks a little focus; oak and fruit; little disjointed and acid present; light; overall a bit light boned and elegant with a short finish. Drink 2018-2024. Tasted Cercle Rive Droite, March 30, 2014. 80-82.

Château Mazeyres, Pomerol

Mid depth; looser at the meniscus; some strawberry and honey notes; light; red fruits; suggests hardness; chewy and acid; disjointed; pretty puckering at present. Drink 2018-2024. Tasted Cercle Rive Droite, March 30, 2014. 80-82

Château Montviel, Pomerol

Deep and saturated look; legs [redder purple]; coffee; liqourice and black fruits; integrated oak [if familiar]; some cream; in the context an attractive nose; creamy lush style initially; concentrated with density; chewy on the finish, tannins a little hard at the very end. Finish a bit simplistic but overall works. Drink 2018-2024. Tasted Cercle Rive Droite, March 30, 2014. 85-87

Château Le Moulin, Pomerol

Deepish; legs; earthy aromatics; palate better purity but pretty lean and austere; chew to the tannins and acid on the palate; there is some flesh here so may come good. Finish is simple and not overdone. Drink 2018-2024. Tasted Cercle Rive Droite, March 30, 2014. 83-85

Château Nenin, Pomerol

Deep at centre; vibrant edge; attractive and positive aromatics; some spice; cherry and plum tones; sappy and fruit driven; good fruit, some flesh in the middle. Sap and grip on the finish. Good effort for the vintage. May fill out further. [67% Merlot, 33% Cabernet Franc, 13.3% alc, TA 3.65, pH 3.65, 25% new oak, 10% presswine, 30hl/ha]. Drink 2018-2028. Tasted Chateau Leoville Las Cases, March 31, 2014. 87-89+

Fugue de Nenin, Pomerol

Mid depth; vibrant looking; full and fruity nose; plenty of fruit on the palate; vivid, easy and nicely balanced. Not particularly concentrated but good and appetizing. [95% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc, 13.1% alc, TA 3.63, pH 3.64, IPT 56, 30hl/ha, 5% press wine, 20% new oak,]. Drink 2016-2022. Tasted Leoville Las Cases, March 31, 2014. 85-87

Château Petit-Village, Pomerol

Deeper than some; ripe fruit; redcurrants and raspberry tones; nice tight seam of focused fruit; palate has extract and a little dry at the back; feels a little extracted and chewy; bit disjointed currently. Lacks generosity. Chewy Petit-Village. [70% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon]. Drink 2018-2025. Tasted UGCB April 2, 2014. 86-88

Château La Pointe, Pomerol

Deepish; vibrant purple at edge; clean and some perfume; little spicy fruit at the back; elegant; nice entry; some chew and material; grippy and quite gutsy. Little chewy. Needs to settle. [90% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc]. Drink 2018-2024. Tasted UGCB April 2, 2014. 85-87

Château Plince, Pomerol

Lightish red; earthy purple at rim; freshness on the nose with spices; elegant palate, with some spicy tones and sap. Sappy finish. Lightish. Drink 2018-2024. Tasted JP Moueix, April 2, 2014. 85-87

Château Rouget, Pomerol

Deep and full looking; red fruits and some lift; chew and extract with a bit of a dip; this may fill out – not as puckering as some; chewy but there is some fruit. Tasted Cercle Rive Droite, March 30, 2014. 84-86

Château Taillefer, Pomerol

Mid depth; earth purple [bit diffuse]; some honey; little VA; little vegetal streak too…very acidic almost white wine on the palate. Dry and puckering finish. Drink 2016-2023. Tasted Cercle Rive Droite, March 30, 2014. Drink 2018-2024. 78-80?

Château Trotanoy, Pomerol

Deep colour; tight to the core; lovely creamy plum tones on the nose; nice and layered; depth here; creamy entry with black fruits and plums; very attractive palate. Sappy and positive finish. Very good effort. Drink 2018-2034. Tasted JP Moueix April 2, 2014. 91-93+

Vieux Château Certan, Pomerol, 2013

Mid depth; glossy looking, purple at edge; plums and blackcurrant fruit; spices; great purity; a real stand out aromatically; delicious palate; very nicely balanced with real delicacy; some material here but extraction held in check; very good finish and length. Like the finest Grand Cru Burgundy this. It would be my pick of the 2013 Pomerols tasted. Great clarity. Tiny quantities. [92% Merlot, 8% Cabernet Franc, 22hl/ha, TA 3.4, pH 3.65 IPT 61, 13% alc]. Drink 2018-2030. Tasted April 4, 2014 at VCC. 92-94

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