When Jean-Hubert Delon of Château Léoville Las Cases purchased Nénin in 1997, he reviewed pruning and trellising methods, replanted or uprooted vines and modernised equipment. Ageing and storage cellars were extended and completely refitted, and air conditioning was added. The wines had been somewhat boring given the quality of the soils: many grow on the great clay-gravel terroirs of the Pomerol plateau. ‘The vineyard was getting old, yields were too high and the infrastructure obsolete,’ says director Pierre Graffeuille. It has taken some time for the changes to show in the wine, which bills itself as a vin de garde. Indeed it displays the most ‘Left Bank’ character of all the estates in this article, but the 2015 shows more elegance than the 2005.
Château Nénin 2015 92
£42-£44 (ib) Corkr, Crump Richmond Shaw, Fine & Rare A little closed, but shows potential for the longer run, making it more like a Left Bank wine. The 33% Cabernet Franc dominates the blend at this early stage, but with time in glass the wine reveals more charm, with bright fruit and mid-palate sap. Interesting to note how the second wine, at 14.5% alcohol, already exudes finesse; a good choice for lovers of classic style claret. Drink 2020-2035 Alc 14%
Château Nénin 2005 90
£ 50 (ib)-£79.40 Grand Vin, Millésima, Wilkinson Vintners An attractive minty, almost eucalyptus nose, with red cherry brightness; however, it’s not as dense or long as the 2015. Indeed, while the 2015 is a little closed, the tannins here come across almost hard by comparison, making the wine less charming than you’d expect from a Pomerol. The blend contains 74% Merlot and 26% Cabernet Franc. Drink 2018-2030 Alc 14%
Above: Château Nénin