Everything about Le Pin Pomerol, Bordeaux wine producer profile, with wine tasting notes, wine and food pairing tips, best vintages, wine ratings, a history of the property, information on wine making and terroir, along with wine tasting reviews. If you want to read about other important, Bordeaux Chateaux: Links to all Bordeaux Wine Producer Profiles
Le Pin History, Overview
Le Pin is one of the most expensive Bordeaux wines as well as one of the priciest wines in the world. Yet, it’s unclassified and its first vintage was only a few decades ago, The first vintage of Le Pin made its debut with the 1979 vintage. With that in mind, when you look at the history of Le Pin, it’s still truly a young Pomerol wine.
Since 1924, what we know of as Chateau Le Pin had been the property of the Loubie family. The grapes were sold or blended to produce other, fine, but undistinguished Pomerol wines until 1978. That changed in 1979. At first, it was thought that the vines of Chateau Le Pin would become part of Vieux Chateau Certan. But that idea quickly faded away as it was considered too expensive for Vieux Chateau Certan and Le Pin was born, when the well known Thienpont family, headed by Leon Thienpont, the father of Alexandre Thienpont talked Jacques Thienpont into buying the 2 hectare property for one million French Francs. In those days, that was a lot of money.
At the time of the sale, the cellars Le Pin were in poor condition. The chai was nothing more than a shed that had been used to store gardening tools. The dilapidated house on the property needed work. Before Alexandre Thienpont took up residence at the estate after he was married, the small house at Le Pin was where he lived for a period of time.
The next investment at Le Pin was made by Jacques Thienpont. It was his idea for the cellars to add a single, 50 hectoliter, stainless steel vat. In the early days at Le Pin, things were really managed for very little money. For example, the debut vintage of Le Pin was aged in used, French oak barrels that were passed down from Vieux Chateau Certan. The cellar was a simple, small, cool, cement room with the ability to hold only a few rows of barrels. But that was all they needed as the production was tiny.
The first vintage of Le Pin sold for a whopping 100 French Francs per bottle! The price was a lot lower than Vieux Chateau Certan was selling for at that time. It’s funny to think about it now, but even at that low price, buyers for 1979 Le Pin were hard to find. Those early vintages were however equally difficult to purchase as the production was small, because close to half the vineyard had just been replanted, and the vines were too young to use. However, things quickly changed for the fortunes and the future of Jacquen Thienpont and Le Pin after Robert Parker heaped effusive praise for the wine from the 1982 vintage. From that point forward, Le Pin became the first wine of Bordeaux selling for as much, or more than most First Growth Bordeaux wines.
Following his initial purchase of Le Pin, Jacques Thienpont continued adding to holdings in the heart of the Pomerol plateau with additional purchases of vineyard land, even if it was only a few choice rows of vines. In 1984, Le Pin grew by a whopping .6 hectares, when Jacques Thienpont was able to buy land that was being used as, believe it or not, a vegetable garden! He obtained more land in 1985 and 1986 as well. Additional vines were purchased later in the first decade of the 21st century. This is when Le Pin acquired the famous “7 rows of vines” that were located next to their Bordeaux wine vineyard. However, in 2012, they were not as lucky. A neighboring Pomerol vineyard with a similar terroir came up for sale and it was quickly bought by Christian Moueix.
The vineyard’s of Le Pin are looked over by Alexandre Thienpont, who also manages Vieux Chateau Certan. Jacques Thienpont makes and sells the wine. Le Pin took its name from the lone pine tree, situated near the winery. The winery and chateau were, until recently, rather humble for a property befitting the stature of Le Pin, a wine that can sell for several thousand dollars per bottle! However, starting in 2010, Jacques Theinpont began construction of a new chateau and wine making facility. The new winery was completed in 2012, just in time to work on the 2011 vintage at Le Pin. The much more modern winery for Le Pin was designed by the noted Belgian architects, Robbrecht & Daem.
Robert Parker is perhaps as responsible as anyone for making the Pomerol wine of Le Pin so famous, coveted and expensive. Prior to the 1982 vintage, not many people outside of Pomerol had yet heard of the wine. Robert Parker’s initial review of Le Pin was lukewarm at best. By the time 1982 Le Pin began to develop, Robert Parker changed his tune. Quickly, his enthusiastic, descriptive, praise for the 1982 Le Pin vintage caused collectors to seek it out. With only a few hundred cases per year being made, it was only a matter of time until Le Pin became priced as a luxury item.
Le Pin Vineyards, Terroir, Grapes, Winemaking
The terroir of Le Pin is clay with gravel and sand with deposits of iron oxide in the soil. The gravel is deep. In some parts of the vineyard, the gravel is close to 3 meters thick. The vineyard is ideally placed with good elevation on the Pomerol plateau. The vines are planted to almost 100% Merlot. While some parcels contain Cabernet Franc, that grape variety is not blended into Le Pin. Situated near the Catusseau village, the vines average close to 35 years of age. However, they have old vines as well that date to the 1950’s. The vineyard of Le Pin is planted to a vine density of 6,000 vines per hectare.
Le Pin was probably the first chateau in all of Bordeaux to conduct malolactic fermentation in barrel. Interestingly, this was by accident and not by design. In their formative years, they did not have enough tanks to hold all the wine for fermentation. So, out of necessity, following alcoholic fermentation, they moved the wine to barrel as an experiment for malolactic fermentation and it worked!
Le Pin produces between 400 and 600 cases per year. The wine of Le Pin is vinified in 7 small, stainless steel tanks that range in size from 15 hectoliters up to 42 hectoliters. In the cellars, all wine is moved by gravity. Malolactic fermentation takes place in new oak. In fact, Le Pin was one of the first producers to perform malolactic fermentation in barrel in the Right Bank. The wine is aged in 100% new, French oak. Blending takes place prior to bottling.
Le Pin is an exotic style of Bordeaux wine. At its best, the wine is concentrated with ripe fruit, the opulent, almost overripe kirsch, black cherry, plum, coconut and citrus scents are unique to the property. The decadent, glycerin filled mouth feel is a treat that in the best vintages, must be tasted to be believed. Le Pin is not always consistently at its best. Hot, dry vintages can be a problem, from time to time. However, the owner Jacques Thienpont is quite picky when it comes to the wine and what is released. This can be in the selection, as lots not deemed worthy of Le Pin are declassified, or even an entire vintage can be declassified when in 2003, the entire production was declassified! There is no second wine at Le Pin. However, they do produce a tiny amount of Trilogie, which is a multi-vintage blend of 3 different years, made from various declassified lots.
Here’s a tip for you. If you’re lucky enough to manage a reservation to taste at the property, don’t spit. Make sure you swallow the wine. Rumor has it, visitors that spit are never invited back. After all, you are at Le Pin! That works for me. Knowing it’s Le Pin in my glass means, there is no way I’m not going to savor every last drop!
Just in time for the 2011 Bordeaux harvest, Le Pin finished their new winery. The understated, small winery of Le Pin includes 7, temperature controlled, stainless steel vats. The new building also includes an underground cellar to accommodate the 30 to 40 barrels needed for to age two different vintages at a time.
The best vintages of Le Pin are: 2016, 2015, 2012, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2006, 2005, 2001, 2000, 1998, 1990, 1989, 1985 and 1982. It is interesting to note that over the years, since Le Pin was founded, even as release prices continue climbing from the estate, Le Pin has proven time and time again to be among the best, if not the best investment for collectors. And more importantly, the wines are stunning too!
Serving and Decanting Chateau Le Pin with Wine, Food, Pairing Tips
Chateau Le Pin is best served at 15.5 degrees Celsius, 60 degrees Fahrenheit. The cool, almost cellar temperature gives the wine more freshness and lift. Young vintages can be decanted for 2-3 hours. This allows the wine to soften and open its perfume. Older vintages might need very little decanting, just enough to remove the sediment. Chateau Le Pin is best served with all types of classic meat dishes, veal, pork, beef, lamb, duck, game, roast chicken, roasted, braised and grilled dishes. Chateau Le Pin is also good with Asian dishes, hearty fish courses like tuna, salmon, mushrooms and pasta.
Château Le Pin Wine Tasting Notes
19 Vintages 77292 Views Sort Vintage Rating
2016 Château Le Pin ( Pomerol)
Produced from 100% Merlot, the wine offers citrus, roses, plum, cocoa and wild cherries as soon as your nose draws close to the glass. Silky, sweet, polished, this is not a wine of density. It is a wine of purity, refinement, complexity, elegance, opulence and with time, it may border on decadence. The harvest took place from October 4 to October 8. The wine reached 14.5% alcohol with a pH of 3.72.
Apr 29, 2017points - Tasted 1104 Views
2015 Château Le Pin ( Pomerol)
Good things come to those that wait. Due to the higher than normal sugar levels in the wine, 2015 Le Pin was not able to be tasted during the premiers. This stunner was certainly worth waiting for.Deep ruby in color, with truffle, floral, black and blue fruit and a touch of kirsch in the nose, the wine shows a lush, silky, decadent, mouth feel. The opulent finish does not quit, as the spicy cherry griotte, kirsch, marzipan and clay tinged finish lasts close to 60 seconds! The wine reached 14.2% alcohol with a pH of 3.72, produced from 100% Merlot, the wine is aging in 100% new, French oak barrels.If you cannot afford a bottle, and not many people can, try and find a rich friend that is lucky enough to buy the wine. It is going to be hard to find as only 500 cases were made this year.
Jul 11, 2016points - Tasted 2119 Views
2014 Château Le Pin ( Pomerol)
This wine opens with citrus, floral, dark chocolate, plum and dark cherry notes in the nose, creating a complex set of aromatics. Plush, rich, clean and pure, what the wine lacks in opulence, it makes up for with its concentrated, fresh, long, pure, sweet, velvet-driven character. 94-96 Pts
Apr 24, 2015points - Tasted 1828 Views
2012 Château Le Pin ( Pomerol)
Tobacco, floral, smoke, earth and ripe, juicy plum scents, the wine is concentrated rich and lush, with an exotic character that blends Mandarin orange dipped in chocolate with earthy and black cherries. The wine is sweet, lush, powerful, sexy and structured to age.
May 15, 2015points - Tasted 2614 Views
Very floral in character with licorice and black raspberries, silky textures and fresh, ripe berries, this velvety wine is expressive, but lacks the length found in the top vintages. 94-96 Pts
Apr 26, 2013points - Tasted 3003 Views
2011 Château Le Pin ( Pomerol)
Boysenberry, chocolate, earth and plum scents open to a fresh, spicy, supple-textured, flashy style of Pomerol ending with a silky, opulent red and black plum finish. 94-95 Pts
Apr 21, 2012points - Tasted 3977 Views
2010 Château Le Pin ( Pomerol)
It's not often I am able to taste Le Pin from bottle. I know, not many others are able to taste it at all. My point is, I know it's a special treat. Le Pin is not the most consistent Pomerol producer. But when it's on, it produces an expression of Merlot that is without equal. Sporting a deep color, the wine popped from the bottle with fresh plum liqueur, chocolate, citrus, coconut, smoke, truffle and boysenberry aromatics. As good as that sounded, the experience was even better on the palate! Thick, rich, intense, pure, fresh, opulent and silky, this was pure decadence with every sniff, swallow and sip. I hope I get to see this beauty again. What a treat!
Jul 20, 2013points - Tasted 5766 Views
Le Pin fills the room with pungent scents of oak, spice, exotic citrus oils, smoke, plums, fennel and fresh flowers. The wine drenches your palate with silky, velvet laced textures and waves of rich, ripe, sweet, pure extract of plum liqueur, Maraschino cherries and orange rind. The long, seamless, intense finish is pure decadence. Le Pin is one of the most interesting Pomerol wines to taste. Aside from amazing high prices, its main problem is, the wine lacks consistency. It doesn't always perform as one would expect. Yet, when it is on, Le Pin is a Pomerol without peer. 97-99 Pts
Apr 21, 2011points - Tasted 6567 Views
2009 Château Le Pin ( Pomerol)
2009 Le Pin has a perfume of coconut, dark berries, black cherries, and hints of citrus flowers accompanied by spice notes. Velvety textured, and richly concentrated, this exotic wine finishes with a blast of plums. 95-97 Pts
Jul 27, 2010points - Tasted 6479 Views
2008 Château Le Pin ( Pomerol)
Medium/full bodied, sensuous, soft and silky, the fresh, sensually, textured sweet, ripe cherries really show through from start to finish. The wine is definitely on the riper, red fruit side of the style range.
Jun 24, 2015points - Tasted 1692 Views
08 Château Le Pin has great color. The nose experiences plum, coffee, spice box, fennel, orange peel, and coffee. Ripe, rich, round fruit with silky tannins. The wine finishes with long blast of chocolate covered cherries. A suave, silky, opulent wine. 93-96 Pts
Jul 30, 2009points - Tasted 2921 Views
2006 Château Le Pin ( Pomerol)
This kicks off with an exotic melange of black and tropical fruit. Very dense. Much darker and richer than their 05. The wine finished with ripe plums, spice, floral notes and orange rinds. This exotic and silky textured wine is one of the few Pomerols that performed better in 06 than 05.
Jun 27, 2009points - Tasted 3868 Views
2005 Château Le Pin ( Pomerol)
Walk into a truffle store, light up a Cuban cigar, pick up a basket of fresh blackberries and plums, take the fruit and remove all the water so you’re left with only the simple, pure essence of the berries, drizzle fresh tangerine juice, add velvet textures and soak your palate in it and you are tasting 2005 Le Pin. If this wine is this good now, I can only imagine what it will be like in 10 years.
Jun 28, 2015points - Tasted 2410 Views
Exotic, coconut tinged, black, red and plum flavors caress your palate. This concentrated wine slips, slides and dances across your pleasure meter. Le Pin offers a unique texture found in no other wine. Now, if only I could talk myself into trading a perfectly nice car for a case of wine.
Jun 23, 2007points - Tasted 3882 Views
2004 Château Le Pin ( Pomerol)
This is exotic in style with its combination of licorice, black fruits and tropical accents. The palate enjoys a rich, lush, opulent, silky feel with flavors of plums, and mangos. Very tropical. Le Pin is truly the kinkiest wine in Bordeaux!
Jun 27, 2009points - Tasted 4986 Views
2001 Château Le Pin ( Pomerol)
Intriguing notes of citrus, flowers, chocolate, plums, spice, truffle, fennel and black cherry. Lush, decadent and supple in texture, this rich, deep, full bodied, opulent wine offers a long, sexy, plum, black cherry and chocolate finish. Le Pin is not the most consistent Pomerol. But when it's on, it's a stunning wine that features unique aromatic and textural qualities that no other wine offers.
May 16, 2011points - Tasted 4783 Views
2000 Château Le Pin ( Pomerol)
I love tasting wines blind that I think I am never going to see. Especially when they preform as well as you envision. Rich, port like fruit, velvet tannins, a nose any perfume make would be proud of and a finish that hits all the right notes. Frighteningly expensive, but a thrill to sip and taste.
Nov 10, 2016points - Tasted 1594 Views
1999 Château Le Pin ( Pomerol)
Medium bodied, with a distinctive citrus note on top of the flowers, plums, cherry and truffle. Elegant, refined, supple, and with a hint of the exotic textures offered in the top vintages of this unicorn wine, this is probably slightly past its peak and should be consumed, if you are lucky enough to have a bottle.
Apr 16, 2017points - Tasted 847 Views
1990 Château Le Pin ( Pomerol)
Perfectly ripe, overripe, and slightly al dente cherries, plums, figs, licorice, flowers and truffles make an appearance. Concentrated, silky, long, fresh and filled with layers of sweet fruits, the finish really sticks in your mouth for ages. Fully mature, this is a stunner.
Nov 10, 2016points - Tasted 1453 Views
This is a silky, sexy slut of a wine that puts the kink back into kinky! The mouth feel is pure decadence. The wine slips and slides over every nook and cranny of your palate. The exotic coconut, over ripe dark cherry, black pit fruit, chocolate and plum tinged perfume holds your attention and does not let go. The sultry, sensuous finish remains close to sixty seconds. If I was rich, I'd buy it.
Mar 17, 2008points - Tasted 5484 Views
1989 Château Le Pin ( Pomerol)
This sports an earthy nose with accents of red and black fruits, nuts, plums, espresso and flowers. Perfectly balanced with great texture, this is a stunning and unique style of wine.
Mar 17, 2008points - Tasted 2443 Views
1987 Château Le Pin ( Pomerol)
This looked at least a decade or more older in color. The black plum, earth, soy and truffle nose was a treat. In the mouth, the fully mature wine offered pleasure without excitement. I was shocked to learn it was Le Pin. I was even more surprised to find it was as good as it was for the vintage
Jun 30, 2009points - Tasted 1847 Views
1985 Château Le Pin ( Pomerol)
Le Pin is about delicacy and aromatics, instead of power. The wine posses layers of kinky dark cherry, plums, coconut, orange, flower and vanilla that makes it truly unique. The decadent wine feels great in your mouth.
Nov 7, 2010points - Tasted 3541 Views
1982 Château Le Pin ( Pomerol)
A wine I never thought I'd be able to taste, and I was certainly glad I did. The nose, with its cherry pipe tobacco, floral, mint, oyster shell, wet earth, cherry and mocha was an easy hook. But the sexy, silky, exotic textures, purity of fruit, and velvet finish brought it all the way home. Fully mature, if you have extremely wealthy friends with a bottle or two, have them pull a cork, as there is no reason to age this any longer.
Jun 7, 2016points - Tasted 2084 Views