Pomerol Bordeaux Wine Guide with a history of the appellation, description of its wines and terroir, producer and chateaux listings with links to pages on every important property in the Bordeaux wine region with wine tasting notes, histories of the properties, images, technical information and Bordeaux wine buying tips, plus a look at the character and style of Pomerol wine.
If you want to read about other Bordeaux wine producers in different Bordeaux appellations: Links to all Bordeaux Wine Producer Profiles If you are interested in learning more about Bordeaux wine, we offer numerous articles on everything about Bordeaux wine, from a complete, detailed, history of the Bordeaux region and the famous 1855 Classification, the grapes used to produce Bordeaux wine and even vintage summaries covering Bordeaux wine from 1900 to today: All About Bordeaux Wine Guide
The links located to the left of the page lead to the top Pomerol wines and their producers. You can read wine tasting notes , detailed profiles and detailed histories of the estates, details on the best Pomerol wines, wine making, soils and other important information, as well as view images of the following top Bordeaux value wine producers:
- Bon Pasteur
- Certan de May
- Certan Marzelle
- Clos du Clocher
- Clos L’Eglise
- Clos Rene
- Feytit Clinet
- L’Eglise Clinet
- Domaine de l’Eglise
- La Conseillante
- La Croix du Casse
- La Croix St. Georges
- La Fleur de Gay
- La Fleur Petrus
- La Grave a Pomerol
- La Pointe
- La Violette
- Latour A’ Pomerol
- Le Gay
- Le Moulin
- Le Pin
- Petit Village
- Vieux Chateau Certan
- Vray Croix de Gay
Pomerol is the smallest of all the major Bordeaux wine producing appellations. There are only 800 hectares under vine, give or take a hectare here or there. Currently, close to 150 different chateaux produce Pomerol wine. The old adage proves true here, good things do come in small packages. Pomerol is the home for some of the most expensive, sought after wines in the world. Petrus, Chateau Lafleur and Le Pin are within walking distance of each other. Yet, casual visitors to the region would not know it. There are no properties with a grand chateau. The area is humble and charming. Some of the top chateau do not have signs or markings of any type on their property to let you know you are there, or even how to get there.
Pomerol is one of the world’s most collectible wine regions. But this is a recent phenomena in many ways. First, while the closest region geographically, St. Emilion, was first planted by the Romans, what was to become Pomerol was ignored. When St. Emilion began producing wine in the early 1300′s and exporting the wines to England, Pomerol remained an after though,t as the region was not yet fully under vine. Pomerol began to develop as a wine producing commune in the 1700′s. At that point farmers slowly began switching their crops from wheat and produce, to growing grapes for wine. The clay, gravel and sandy soils were so poor, this was a propitious move, as it was difficult to grow much of anything else. At the start of the 1700′s, only a small amount Pomerol was under vine. By the end of the century, over 400 hectares were thriving with grape vines! By the early 1800′s Pomerol was an active wine producing appellation. While some early growers made white Bordeaux wine, they were far and few between. The production of white wine was phased out by the very early 1800′s.
While producers were busy creating grand monuments and legendary chateaux in the Medoc in the early 1700′s, Pomerol was not considered much of an appellation. It was considered best for ordinary, simple wine. It took time for the region to develop and gain notice. Pomerol, due to its unique soil composition and the fact that it was located close to the bustling, business district of Libourne, with access to shipping was ripe for development eventually took hold. Slowly but surely, the wines of Pomerol began earning a reputation, at least in the Dutch market place and with the locals in the Right Bank of Bordeaux. La Conseillante and L’Evangile were the first two Pomerol wines to garner attention. Those success were followed by Petit Village, Trotanoy and Vieux Chateau Certan. Petrus had not yet been created.
The next important step in the development of Pomerol wines came when the train from Libourne to Paris was completed in 1853. Now the wines of St. Emilion and Pomerol had much easier access to Bordeaux wine lovers all over the continent! Pomerol, like all of Bordeaux was not able to escape the ravages of Phylloxeria. It took decades for the appellation to replant and get back up to speed. In 1900, the Pomerol Growers association was formed. They created firm boundaries for the appellation by 1928. In 1936, the official AOC laws were drawn up for Pomerol by the INAO. At that point in time, it was agreed by law that only Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec were suitable for the terroir and thus allowed for planting in Pomerol vineyards.
Even though wine from Pomerol slowly began to earn a reputation at the start of the 20th century in new markets, the region did not become widely famous for decades. Belgium was one of the first and most important markets for Pomerol. Aside from the ease to ship the wines to the neighboring Belgium, the large amount of negociants located in the country made it easy to bottle and distribute the wines. At the time, most Pomerol producers had not even considered bottling much of their production,. Selling the wine in barrel to negociants was a much easier and more profitable path to take.
The 1940′s and 1950′s were kind to Pomerol. Astounding wines were produced in 1945, 1947, 1948, 1949, 1950, 1953, 1955, 1959 and 1961! Many of those vintages produced several of the most legendary and expensive wines of the century! Like all of Bordeaux, Pomerol was almost completely destroyed by the frost of 1956 and needed to be completely replanted. It’s amazing to think that the quality of wines produced in 1959 and 1961 came from very young vines! While the devastation caused by the 1956 frost was tragic, it was good for many Pomerol growers in long run. The growers began planting more Merlot and removing Cabernet Sauvignon that was better suited for the Medoc. The quality of wines produced in 1989 and 1990, when many of the Pomerol vines were starting to enter into maturity owe a debt of gratitude to the replanting of the appellation,
1982 is the next important date in the Pomerol timeline. By 1982, much of the wine from Pomerol was still being exported to Belgium and Switzerland, or enjoyed by the local, Right Bank population. 1982 brought international fame not only to Pomerol, but also to the now famous wine consultant Michel Rolland and the wine writer, Robert Parker. All three stars rose to prominence with the fame of the 1982 vintage. In part, after 1982, thanks to the continuous glowing reports from Robert Parker, Pomerol wine became instantly popular all over the world. That was the year that prices began to soar for wines like Petrus and Lafleur. While Petrus had been expensive for decades, selling for the same price as First Growth Bordeaux, it was not the cult superstar it is today. Following the 1982 vintage, prices and demand for Pomerol exploded and so did the fortunes of the young consultant Michel Rolland and Ets. Moueix, who continued adding estates and vines to their already massive portfolio.
While Robert Parker helped popularize the Pomerol region, along with other Right Bank wines, it was the singular drive and vision of Jean Pierre Moueix that gave the wines of Pomerol the biggest boost in the world market. Jean Pierre Moueix started his business in 1937. His tireless efforts to promote to the region and his ownership of Chateau Trotanoy, Chateau Lafleur Petrus and eventually Petrus, along with numerous other Pomerol estates gave him the position of the unofficial spokesperson for the Pomerol appellation.
Pomerol, along with St. Emilion, is where you’ll find the majority of vines devoted to Merlot. In St. Emilion, many producers rely on Cabernet Franc as well. While Cabernet Franc is blended into most Pomerol wines, it is the character of the Merlot grape that gives the wine of Pomerol its sensuous, elegance. There is a smattering of Cabernet Sauvignon planted as well as a very, small amount of Malbec too. Neither of those two two grape varieties are popular in Pomerol today. On average, when you look at the entire 800 hectares of the Pomerol appellation, it is planted to 70% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Franc and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon. Perhaps the region has less than 5% Cabernet Sauvignon as there are a smattering of Malbec vines planted in the Pomerol commune as well.
The Pomerol appellation and its boundaries were officially created in 1928. It remains unchanged since that time. Pomerol, which is located just due west of St. Emilion has a variety of different terroirs that range in quality and help create a myriad of diverse expressions of Pomerol wine. The best estates are located on what is referred to as the Pomerol plateau. The Pomerol plateau is filled with different types of clay and iron deposits in the terroir. The Pomerol plateau, located in the north east portion of Pomerol is roughly bordered by the road from Libourne to Montagne St. Emilion, the N89 to Perigueux, the Catusseau village and the Barbanne river.
The Pomerol plateau is the home to all the best Pomerol producers. Inside the Pomerol plateau, the quality of the terroir varies, due to differences in the soils, slopes and exposures, the terroir of the Pomerol plateau is a complex blend of gravel, clay, sand, crasse de fer and iron oxide.
Clay soils are unique. Clay is produced from degraded limestone, which explains why you often find limestone and clay located in the same terroir. This takes place because limestone is high in pH and calcium, which eventually breaks down due to time and erosion. Clay soils can contain a high, CEC, also known as Citation Exchange Capacity. That CEC is important as it allows the soil to help bring more nutrients into the grape vines. Because of the relationship between limestone and clay, the clay possesses many of the chemical compounds and nutrients that add to the uniqueness of the terroir; including calcium, pH and other trace minerals, that along with the CEC, help the soils to retain water and feed the vines.
There are several types of clay in the soils of Pomerol. But the famous blue clay of Pomerol is considered the best terroir in Pomerol. The button or circle of blue clay resides in an inexact circle in the north east corner of the Pomerol plateau. What makes the most famous wine of Pomerol, Petrus, unique, is that the vineyard is planted on close to 100% blue clay. This blue clay only exists at Petrus. No other vineyard in the world has that wealth of blue clay. The blue clay is incredibly dense, making it almost impossible for the vines to penetrate. Petrus is the only Pomerol producer with close to 100% of their vines centered on buttonhole of Smectite clay. However, other estates located in the general vicinity have some of their vines planted on that small area of blue clay as well, including Vieux Chateau Certan and L’Evangile.
Pomerol produces a myriad of diverse wines in a variety of styles from different terroir and soils. From sandy soils, you’ll find lighter, more acidic wines with black and red fruit characters. From the plateau, in the top vintages, the wines are sensuous and often hedonistic. They offer perfumes of truffles, chocolate, flowers and exotic spices. There are also gravel based soils and terroirs that blend clay, gravel, sand and iron.
At their best, the wines of Pomerol are concentrated wines with opulent and even decadent mouth feels and textures. Interestingly, with all its success and world famous wines, it’s the only major Bordeaux appellation that has never been classified. However, for a period of time, an unofficial classification existed in the appellation and some estates added Premier Grand Cru to their labels.
This unique clay, dominated terroir of Pomerol makes it the first Bordeaux region to harvest. In some years, the ability to pick before the rains can gave the appellation a leg up on the other Bordeaux communes. Most recently, this took place in 2008 and again in 2012. History is filled with years that Pomerol, due to its propensity for early harvesting produced the best wine in Bordeaux. 1998, 1964 and 1950 are other examples of previous vintages where Pomerol shined above the other Bordeaux appellations, because the regions was the first to harvest.
The high demand for Pomerol wine, along with low production has made many wines very expensive. However, some top producers have not pushed their prices too far, too fast, giving consumers some strong buying opportunities in today’s marketplace. Other wines, due to their extraordinary, high quality, small production and world-wide fame are heart shockingly expensive! Pomerol is also the home of one of the few, Bordeaux properties devoted to the production of Kosher wine. Domaine Roses Camille, managed by Christophe Bardeau is a new Pomerol vineyard, making of Kosher wine, produced from 100%, old vine Merlot that was planted in the early 1950′s. Not much is made as the vineyard is only 1 hectare, making it difficult to find.
Prior to 1998, Pomerol, along with Margaux were neck and neck in a contest to win the award for the most underachieving, inconsistent, Bordeaux wine region. Numerous chateaux in both appellations with great terroir were not making the quality of wines they could have been producing. That is no longer the case. Many producers in the Pomerol region have a new, spare no expense attitude to making the best wine possible today. Properties that previously made dull wine have recently picked up their game and are now making very nice wines, if not the best wines in their history.