Whilst the incredible Indian summer undoubtedly turned around the fortunes of the 2014 vintage, the growing season in Pomerol was not without its challenges. Stormy showers punctuated much of June, July and August and, in terms of overall rainfall throughout the year, it was one of the wettest since in a decade. Despite the rain, the sunny and generally dry conditions that characterised September and October, were sufficient to successfully ripen the Merlot and were particularly beneficial to Cabernet Franc, which looks to have succeeded very well 2014. As always success depended on terroir and diligence. There is great vibrancy in the best wines, which show genuine style and verve, but in a few cases there also appears some dilution.
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Overall 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.
Pomerol has made a really serious fist of 2012. There is plenty of creamy, fat Merlot on offer and with diligent vineyard work and a steady nerve it was possible to harvest ripe and flavoursome Cabernet Franc. There is wonderful freshness and vibrancy to the best wines, and generally much more flesh on offer than in 2011. There is also impressive structure too. Some estates are comparing the vintage with 2001 in terms of balance. At Vieux Chateau Certan they talked about 1985 while Christian Moueix has even been comparing it with 1971. What’s in the glass is delicious in my opinion and there is considerable depth on offer too.
You can always rely on Pomerol to provide something lush. It’s a tough call arriving at these wines last as I did at the MW tasting, particularly after some hefty numbers in St Emilion, but the fact is that Pomerol’s wines felt more nimble on their feet than those of their immediate Right Bank neighbour. There was also freshness and delicacy here. Along with the reds of Pessac-Léognan, many of these Pomerols are attractive already, and should provide satisfying drinking in the medium term.