Monday, 27 April 2009

Pomerol Wines

Pomerol Wines

Pomerol is the smallest wine producing area in Bordeaux however although it is tiny, Pomerol is famous world over. The vineyards are located 19 miles north east of Bordeaux and 2 miles from the city of Libourne on a slightly rolling plateau, that slopes gradually towards the Isle river valley and its confluence with the Dordogne. The vineyards cover 1976 acres and produce sumptuous, exuberant wines which are constantly sought after.

Although Pomerol has never had its Châteaux officially ranked in the 1855 Classification it is home to some of the most famous of wines – Château Pétrus, which is unofficially grouped with the Premier Grand Crus (First Growths) of Bordeaux, and the most expensive: Le Pin.

Terroir and Grapes

Soil in Pomerol is a unique, outstanding geological phenomenon. The topsoil is made up of gravel that varies in compactness, with layers of clay and sand. The subsoil includes iron oxide, locally called "crasse de fer". This soil, combined with a special micro-climate, accounts for the personality of Pomerol's wines. Pomerol runs from north west to south east, rising to a height of about 140 feet above sea level at its highest point, then falling away towards Saint Émilion.

Merlot accounts for 80% of vines planted, with the remainder divided between Bouchet or Cabernet Franc (15%) and Cabernet Sauvignon (5%). This high composition of Merlot in their blends means that the wines are considered the gentlest and least tannic and acidic of Bordeaux wines. Cabernet Franc helps to contribute to the dark, deep colouring that is typical of Pomerol wines.

Wine Style

Pomerol's wines are smooth, rich and velvety with an intense plummy fruitiness. The wines are gentle with a lush ruby colour and an elegant bouquet. Due to the reduced tannins found in these wines they can typically be drunk much younger than other red Bordeaux although they are at their best when the bottle reaches 15 years old.

Famous Châteaux and Recommended Wines

Château Pétrus
Le Pin
Château L'Evangile
La Conseillante
Château Nenin
Château Gazin

Some of the châteaux in Pomerol have tiny vineyards producing a small amount of wine each year and due to this the wines have become quite rare. Château L'Eglise Clinet was originally part of Château Clinet and Château Clos l'Eglise. In 1882, Mr Mauléon-Rouchut, great great grandfather of Denis Durantou, the current owner of the château, brought together different plots of Clos L’Eglise and Domaine de Clinet, which his family had acquired in the 18th century, to make up a 14 acre vineyard around the church of Saint John of Pomerol. Château L'Eglise Clinet is now one of the most sought after wines from Pomerol. The vineyard is situated on the plateau of Pomerol behind the church and is one of the few Pomerol vineyards that was not replanted after the 1956 killing frosts and consequently it has very old vines, a few of which exceed 100 years in age.

Château L'Enclos dates back to the end of the 19th century when Pierre Larroucaud assembled parcels of vines in the hamlet of Grand Moulinet. The Château takes its name from the land around it and Clos or L'Enclos in Bordeaux refers to a walled vineyard. Larroucaud built the present Château which is in the Swiss chalet style. The Larroucaud family owned L'Enclos for 10 generations until Steve Adams of Adams French Vineyards bought the estate in 2007. Hugues Weydert is a descendant of the Larroucauds and is currently the Administrator of the château. L'Enclos neighbours Pétrus and de Sales and the 38 plots of vines are planted on 3 terraces on the Pomerol plateau covering 25 acres.

Château Hosanna is situated in the centre of the Pomerol plateau, neighbouring Château Lafleur to the north, Château Pétrus to the east and Vieux Château Certan and Château Certan de May to the south. It has an average annual production of one quarter that of Château Pétrus, its more famous stable mate and is made with all the care and dedication of that gives Pétrus its awesome reputation. Château Hosanna was formerly part of Château Certan Giraud which the Moueix family purchased in 1999. The property consisted of 2 distinctly different parcels; the parcel on the elevated part of the property was renamed Château Hosanna and the remaining parcel was later sold.

Jean-Pierre Moueix started his business in 1937, and was responsible for putting the wines of Pomerol, Bordeaux's smallest appellation, on the map. Today many wines from Pomerol fetch prices far higher than those of their Médoc neighbours despite lacking classified growth status. The company and its Châteaux is now run by his son Christian and grandson Edouard Moueix, and his company ETS. J-P Moueix, now manages a portfolio of more than 10 superior Bordeaux properties, including Châteaux Pétrus, Magdelaine, Latour a Pomerol, Trotanoy and Belair.

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