Le Pin Barrel Tasting, La Conseillante, Vieux Chateau Certan in Pomerol

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An amazing day in Pomerol

Friday, June 20

The day started at La Conseillante with Jean-Michel Laporte for a look at the three current vintages and a taste of the second Bordeaux wine of La Conseillante, Duo, produced for the first time in 2007.  It was interesting comparing 2006 La Conseillante with 2005. 2005 is the better vintage. It’s rounder, riper and more sensuous than the more structured 2006. Director Jean-Michel Laporte does not agree. He thinks in time, 2006 will outperform 2005. Additionally,  Laporte compares 05 and 06 La Conseillante to 89 and 90 with the 89 as the 05.  Regardless, I look forward to comparing them in the years to come.

2006 La Conseillante is a structured style of Conseillante. The wine, bottled in April has a nice ruby color,  plummy nose with hints of oak. While typical Conseillante elegance is present, this vintage is a little more tannic than most years. It will take longer to develop than the 05. 94 Pts

2005 La Conseillante is a very, sexy, lush, hedonstic Bordeaux wine. Perfectly balanced with ripe, velvety tannins, concentration and a long decadent finish is a beautiful Pomerol and a stellar La Conseillante. 96 Pts

Next, I ambled over to Vieux Chateau Certan to taste with Alexandre Thienpont and Francois Thienpont.  Alexandre, a very soft spoken, gentle man related the story of the Chateau’s famous pink capsule. Their grandfather, a well known Belgian wine merchant in the 20’s purchased the Chateau. He came up with the idea of a unique pink capsule as a a sly way to know which of his customers were buying Vieux Chateau Certan when he walked into their cellars.

02 Vieux Chateau Certan is a success for the vintage. Stylistically, it is more masculine than usual. Some lightening in color, coconut, plums and spicy earth makeup the aromatics. A nice finish with a hint of austerity completes the wine. 91 Pts

04 Vieux Chateau Certan utilized more Cabernet than usual, 30%. Oaky, plum nose, round textures and good balance bring it all together. This is a very nice VCC and probably the best deal n the marketplace for any of their wines. Alexandre says 04 is a classic style for the Chateau. 93 Pts

05 Vieux Chateau Certan has it all, ripe fruit in abundance, aromatic complexity and a powerful, lush style. Great style of Pomerol. 95 Pts

06 Vieux Chateau Certan is a bigger, beefier style of VCC. Not as much finesse as the 05, but more tannin and concentration. I prefer the lush style of the 05, but I can see others liking 06 more.

Served at lunch…

01 Vieux Chateau Certan, like many 01 Right Bank wines continues to improve. Good complexity and plush palate presence makes this a very nice wine. It will improve for a few years, but, if you have more than a few bottles, why wait? 92

00 Vieux Chateau Certan is a different style of VCC. Bigger, bolder and with more structure. Still young, this very rich, stylish Pomerol will get better and better over the next few decades. 96

Le Pin Barrel Tasting… Le Pin, which takes its name from the pine tree on the property remains one of the most sought after wines in the world Small production, a unique style with exotic, tropical accents and high scores keep the prices for Le Pin shockingly high.

Barrel tasting at Le Pin is always a treat. But today, Alexandre, Francois and I tasted from a multitude of barrels. Each in its own way were interesting, But when blended together, that is how they can often produce sublime wines.

07 Le Pin Barrel #1 sported jammy berries and had a slight austere styling to it.

07 Le Pin Barrel #2 was bigger, riper, more dense and tannic, less interesting on the nose, but much better on the palate.

07 Le Pin Barrel #3 was another step up in quality. This barrel housed the oldest vines which were clearly more intense.

After tasting the wines, it was explained that barrel #1 was the soul of Le Pin. Barrel #2 was the back bone of Le Pin and barrel #1 was the base for the wines as it had the oldest vines.

06 Le Pin kicks off with an exotic melange of black and tropical fruit. Very dense. Much darker and richer than 05. The wine finished with fascinating, orange rind note. This is one of the Pomerols IMO that performed better in 06 than 05.

04 Le Pin is exotic in style with its combination of licorice, black fruits and tropical accents. The palate enjoys a rich feel with flavors of plums, and mangos. Very tropical. Le Pin is truly a kinky wine.

L’Eglise Clinet, one of only two wines to earn triple digits from Parker in 05 was next on the schedule. L’Eglise Clinet abuts the Pomerol cemetery. It’s located across the street from Clos L’Eglise and around the corner from Clinet. This is nice real estate. What gives L’Eglise Clinet its unique profile? According to the owner Denis Durantou, it’s the unique terroir which is different from his neighbors, along with his approach to making wine.

It’s nice when the sun is shining in the vineyards and you can walk from L’Eglise to Clos L’Eglise. But as it’s only across the small street that barely fits two cars at the same time, it’s not much of a walk.

Helene Garcin is in charge of several wineries in Bordeaux and Argentina. In Bordeaux she has Branon and Haut Bergey in Pessac Leognan. St. Emilon has Barde Haut and in Pomerol, she owns Clos L’Eglise. We were able to taste all those properties. Dr. Alain Raynaud is her consultant and he was gracious enough to bring his wine along as well.

05 Haut Bergey has a soft, supple entry. Fennel, chocolate and berry flavors with a nice, pure, finish make this one of the best buys in 2005. 91 Pts

05 Branon with its deep ruby color offers a nose of black raspberry, coffee and herbs. Very good concentration with layers of rich, sexy, ripe fruit. The wine finishes with chocolate covered berries. Very polished and opulent in style. 94 Pts

05 Barde Haut is ruby in color. The cherry tinged aromas are further complicated with accents of plum and blackberry. Very ripe and silky on the palate. The finish is a bit short. 91 Pts

05 Quinault L’Enclos is one hedonistic treat. Creamy, ripe raspberry, black fruit and oak make up the perfume. The wine is already showing well today with its opulent, sexy texture and style. 92 Pts

05 Clos L’Eglise is deep ruby in color. Molten, black cherry with licorice, plums and mocha tease and please the nose. Very concentrated with layers of very ripe, black fruit that seem to unfold over your palate. The tannins are sweet. But the wine has a touch of oak in the finish that shows today which will integrate as the wine evolves. Like most, high quality 05’s, this will need to come together. This is a very stylish example of Pomerol. 94 Pts

Continuing my quest for Clinet, Ronan Laborde, who could be a competitive marathon runner if he gave up wine, food and a few other vices is the young owner of Clinet. Clinet is one of the properties that produced a better wine in 2006 than they did in 2005.  Mark my words, they are a property to watch. Ronan is willing to do what it takes to produce wines the property made in previous vintages like 1989 and 1990.

05 Clinet dark color, smoke, jammy black fruit, tannic. Ends with a plush, fruit filled finish. The only downside to the wine is a slightly short middle. 91

06 Clinet is another wine that is better than 05. Bigger nose with chocolate covered raspberry, a longer mid palate and more tannin. This will take a few more years than the 05 to fully develop. 93

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