While Pomerol’s big­gest names are com­mand­ing equally size­able prices, value and qual­ity can be found among the area’s smaller es­tates, says Panos Kakavi­atos

Decanter - - CONTENTS -

Look to the im­prov­ing smaller es­tates for qual­ity and value sug­gests Panos Kakavi­atos

Petrus 2005 sells in the UK for at least £2,500 per bot­tle. The 2015 costs £3,000. But it’s not the only Pomerol com­mand­ing four-fig­ure sums. Château lafleur and le Pin also hit these peaks; while names like la Con­seil­lante, Vieux Château Cer­tan and l’Evangile sell in triple fig­ures. No won­der mer­chants of­ten feel that ‘bar­gain Pomerol’ is an oxy­moron.

‘I don’t know of any “bar­gains”,’ says Jeremy stock­man of Watson’s Wine in Hong Kong. ‘We have the big­ger brands, and they are all fully priced,’ he em­pha­sises. Ben Gilib­erti, ed­u­ca­tion di­rec­tor for Wash­ing­ton DC-based im­porter Calvert Wood­ley, agrees. ‘Pomerol lacks the strong fol­low­ing en­joyed by top crus of other re­gions,’ he says. ‘loy­alty may come, but de­mand for now is lim­ited to the for­tu­nate, high-scor­ing few.’

Pomerol is a con­tra­dic­tion. some of Bordeaux’s great­est names come from its small­est fine wine ap­pel­la­tion: 140 pro­duc­ers and some 800ha of vines are found in an area only 3km wide by 4km long. While small, Pomerol’s soils are di­verse – with gravel, sand and clay; and wine blends vary, dom­i­nated by Mer­lot, but in­clud­ing Caber­net franc and also Caber­net sau­vi­gnon for some. It has no of­fi­cial rank­ing, no grands crus or first growths.

yet, ac­cord­ing to Ger­many-based buyer Michael Grimm of Bac­chusVinothek, ‘some hid­den gems can be found’. He lists Guil­lot Clauzel as an ‘in­sider wine’ – and praises Châteaux lafleur Gazin, la Grave and Plince. As else­where in Bordeaux, it’s not just the big names that are mak­ing wine with greater pre­ci­son now.

This ar­ti­cle high­lights es­tates where ma­jor im­prove­ments have been made and com­pares their 2015 and 2005 vin­tages. some – like Châteaux Nenin and Petit Vil­lage – have ex­cel­lent ter­roir, but were un­der­per­form­ing. Im­por­tantly while they have now im­proved, prices have not caught up.

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