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
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.