You may have heard of Bordeaux, but what about Pomerol? Where is it? What is it? For the average American wine consumer French wine remains a mystery, with classifications, and first growth and Chateau’s and regions. Not to mention the wine is not labelled as Cabernet or Merlot.
First, lets locate Pomerol. There it is! Not far from the city of Bordeaux, the tiny commune is less than 3 square miles. Pomerol is a sub-region of the “right bank” of Bordeaus but Pomerol differs from Bordeaux in that there is no official classification system. Read this Wikipedia article about wine classification in France if you don’t already know what it is.
The wines of Pomerol are typically less tannic and rely more heavily on Merlot. The other two varieties of grape used are Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon.
Over the past year I have managed to get my hands on some hard to find, and amazing examples of Pomerol produced wine. First let me say that these wines are not cheap. If you are looking for an affordable summer sipper these are not them. But if you are looking for a serious wine for a special occaision these two wines are worth considering. I have tried several bottles of each wine.
Chateau Nenin 2005 Pomerol
Blend: 74% Merlot, 26% Cabernet Franc
Most reviews of this wine suggest big fat tannins, monster tannins and a rich concentration of black fruit. I didn’t taste this earlier on, and in fact the wine had a few years in the bottle by the time I tried it. I found the tannins to be a lot more subtle than I expected. The fruit was deliciously integrated with a Thyme like spice to it. Very smooth. Pair this wine with Prime Filet Mignon (tenderloin) Wine Enthusiast 91 points, Wine Advocate 92 points, Wine Spectator 93 points. Weekly Wine Journal rating…93 points
Price: $90. Pricing on this wine is all over the map, but generally if you were to walk into a retail store you could expect to pay around $90. Online prices vary.
Clos l’Eglise 2006 “La Reserve”
Blend: 80% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc
Price: $140. Once again prices vary, generally between $90-$150 online
Production: 2,300 cases
“The wine is made according to traditional methods. It is for this reason that Sylviane Garcin-Cathiard chose wooden vats for Clos L’Eglise. Each batch is treated separately in a thermostat-regulated vat of 60 hl. Manual pigeage has been re-introduced; the pulp and mass of skins, known as chapeau, floats to the top during fermentation and is punched down manually several times a day. The wine is left in fermenting vats for a long time, and malolactic fermentation is carried out in 100% new barrels. Ageing lasts between 16 to 18 months depending on the vintage.” -Winemaker
VERY interesting thing to note about this particular wine: This wine is the result of a collaboration between the winery and Gary Vaynerchuk. He helped with the blending and as a result wine library is the exclusive retailer of this wine in the United States. This is not the exact same wine as the regular Clos l’Eglise Pomerol as evidenced by the difference in labelling.
This wine is the bigger and bolder of the two. Right now, it is still fairly young. The tannins are edgy and grippy, like cinnamon but there is definitely a great concentration of fruit and terroir to pull it through. Cedar spice and black currants and the finish goes on forever. Pair this wine with a Prime New York Strip. The tannins will work well with the texture of this particular cut of meat. Weekly Wine Journal rating: 93 points
While both of these wines are well out of the budget for the average casual consumer of wine, I think that once you make the decision to go deep, to spend some big bucks and take your wine to the next level, these are two wines that won’t disappoint.