2018 Pomerol continues the appellations streak of recent great vintages, 2009, 2010, 2015, 2016 and now 2018. While each of those years offer incredible wines with characteristics you can only find in Pomerol, at their best, perhaps 2018 outclasses all those previous years.
2018 Pomerol might not be as consistent as other great vintages, meaning that all wines did not perform at an equal high-level. With 2018, you need to look at the rich clay soils on the plateau for the best of the best. But make no mistake, the top wines from the plateau are future Bordeaux legends!
In fact, as you will see in our tasting notes, the wine of the vintage in my view comes from Pomerol!
It is the style and character found in 2018 Pomerol that makes the vintage so good. At their best, they have incredible levels of depth. They are concentrated, rich and alcoholic. But the pH is low enough, making the acidity high enough to provide lift and energy on the palate.
At their best, the top wines offer a decadent tasting experience that drenches your palate with layers of decadently textured fruits that feels off the charts. These are exciting wines that fans of Pomerol will want in their cellar.
2018 Pomerol did not start out promising. The early part of the growing season found a region drenched from almost non-stop rains. To give you an idea of how much water fell in Pomerol, from January to July, close to 24″, (600 mm) drenched the region over 6 months!
The biggest issues came with the rains that fell in April and May. All that rain brought attacks of mildew, which had the potential to wreak havoc. Growers with the resources to act quickly were able to fight off most of the mildew. Crop losses were mild with 2018 Pomerol.
While the soils were saturated by July, the clay terroirs soaked up as much water as possible before expelling the rest. This proved to be part of the magic recipe needed to create 2018 Pomerol. Because the second half of the growing season turned out to be one of the hottest and driest vintages of the past 50 years!
For many soils, especially sandy terroirs, there was not enough water to allow the grapes to reach full desired levels of ripeness. But the plateau with its clay soils retained ample water to promote maturity in the vines. The harvest took place in picture-perfect conditions over an extended picking window. Conditions were so good, vignerons were able to pick at their chosen level of maturity.
With close to 600 wines tasted, you can expect more 2018 Bordeaux reports for every major appellation to be published daily. Tuesday, April 30, we’ll continue our look at The Right Bank with tasting notes and ratings for more than 150 of the best wines from St. Emilion.
The following wines were tasted between late March and early April 2019 in non-blind conditions. Several wines were tasted more than once, with consistent results.
2018 Beauregard – Deep, dark fruit with licorice, coffee bean and a touch of fig along with black plums on the nose and palate produce the juice — a wine that is round, plump and fruity. You will be able to drink this on the young side. 89 – 91 Pts
2018 Bel-Air-Pomerol – Floral, forward, medium bodied with a licorice infused, red plum profile, there is not a lot of weight or complexity here but it will be pleasant in its youth. 86 – 88 Pts
2018 Bellegrave – A straight forward plum, chocolate and licorice-filled wine with round textures in an open, fresh style. 87 – 89 Pts
2018 Bon Pasteur – Ripe black cherries, plums, flowers, licorice and chocolate permeate the aromatic character. Sensuous, silky, polished and concentrated with layers of fruit, licorice and cocoa, give this wine 5-7 years to develop even more of its intimate and sexy personality. The wine was made from blending 80% Merlot with 20% old vine Cabernet Franc. 93 – 95 Pts
2018 Bonalgue – This medium-bodied wine showcases sweet black cherries, silky tannins, licorice and floral notes. The wine is forward, soft and polished and exposes ripe cherries in the finish. 89 – 91 Pts
2018 Bourgneuf – Earthy red fruits and fennel come though quickly in this medium-bodied, bright, red berry-filled, soft, forward wine. I like the hit of cocoa in the finish. 90 – 92 Pts
2018 Certan de May – Sensuous, silky, plush and graceful, this wine hits the spot — that is if you like velvet texture, dark red berries, chocolate, fresh espresso and truffle in your wine. 94 – 96 Pts
2018 Clinet – Sensual, luscious and sexy, this is bottled decadence. The wine takes pure plums drenches them in velvet and drizzles them with roses, dark chocolate, licorice, espresso and truffle. The wine is full bodied, concentrated, powerful and lush. Produced from blending 85% Merlot and 15% Cabernet Sauvignon and hitting 14.75% alcohol, the wine is aging in 75% new, French oak barrels. The harvest took place September 19 to October 5. 97 – 99 Pts
2018 Clos-de-la-Vieille-Eglise – Medium bodied, fruity and correct, you’ll find more ripeness, form and fruit than usual. The wine starts off well but finishes a bit short. 87 – 89 Pts
2018 Le-Clos-du-Beau-Pere| – Nice depth of color, the toasty oak rounds out the fresh plums, cherry and licorice notes. Supple textures, fruity and juicy with a nice hit of chocolate in the finish, this is a delicious, early drinking Pomerol. 89 – 91 Pts
2018 Clos du Clocher – Flowers, black raspberries and herbs combine on the nose. On the palate, the wine is elegant, soft and polished with silky tannins and sweet, ripe plums along with olive tapenade in the finish. Give this a few more years to allow it to soften. The wine blends 70% Merlot with 30% Cabernet Franc. 90 – 92 Pts
2018 Clos LEglise – Powerful, plummy, silky, deep and fresh, this full-bodied wine is long and filled with dark, red pit fruits, chocolate, espresso and violets. Give this velvet textured beauty a decade to age and it is going to be superb! 94 – 96 Pts
2018 Clos Rene – The most concentrated wine in the history of Clos Rene, this is on the deep plum side with licorice, dark chocolate and tension in the mouth. The fruit makes its presence known –something that has been missing from this estate for a while. Much of that credit goes to their new consultant Thomas Duclos. 89 – 91 Pts
2018 La Conseillante – Sexy, fresh, rich, opulent and refined, this is Pomerol at its most seductive. The fruits are drenched in chocolate and you’ll quickly find truffle, smoke, licorice, flowers and dark, black cherries. With velvety tannins, concentration and depth of flavor, this wine delivers a long attention grabbing finish. And this is a good thing as this is a wine you don’t want to lose sight of. Made from blending 83% Merlot and 17% Cabernet Franc and reaching 14% alcohol, the harvest took place September 19 to October 4. Yields were lower than usual at 32 hectoliters per hectare. You need to know that on my initial taste I loved the wine and thought it was the equal of the brilliant 2016 but I went back three times and each subsequent tasting was better than the last. This could top the 2016! Time will tell. 98 – 100 Pts
2018 Domaine-de-LEglise – Medium-bodied, elegant and fresh, you’ll find plum, vanilla and floral notes on the nose. This wine is focused on its silky, soft textures and sweetness in the ripe earthy plums. The wine was made from 95% Merlot and 5% Cabernet Franc. 91 – 93 Pts
2018 Enclos Tourmaline – Deep in color, this wine is coaxing you to find flowers, plums, licorice and perfectly ripe cherries in its aroma. This is a hedonistic, erotic wine delivering a velvet drenched, plummy mouthful. Produced from 100% Merlot and reaching 14.7% alcohol, it’s aging in 100% new, French oak. This will be quite difficult to find as only 275 cases were produced. 95 – 97 Pts
2018 LEvangile – Clearly the most concentrated vintage ever produced here. The wine is incredibly dense. You can tell just by looking at your glass. But the blackened color is only an introduction to the story, as the tale is told you’ll find orange blossom, bitter chocolate, plum liqueur, flowers, truffle and black cherries. With concentration to match the intensity, volume to pair with length, purity and velvet tannins, the wine delivers even more complexity in the finish with a mix of stony, salty minerality and decadent plum. The finish builds and expands on your palate. If the wine softens and develops more silk on the palate, this could score much higher. The wine is made from 80% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Franc, which is the same as the vineyard plantings. The harvest took place September 19 to October 2. The wine reached 14.5% alcohol and is aging in 75% new, French oak. The Grand Vin was produced from 50% of the harvest. The wine was made from incredibly low yields of only 20 hectoliters per hectare. 97 – 99 Pts
2018 Blason de L’Evangile – The approachable black cherry and truffle profile with its glossy, sexy character is so good it is hard to believe this is a second wine. This is a Pomerol with personality that you can drink in its youth while waiting for the Grand Vin to mature. 90 – 92 Pts
2018 Fayat – Forward, soft, medium-bodied with a ready to go personality of red plums, licorice, smoke and espresso, finishing with a nice layer of ripe cherries and thyme. 88 – 90 Pts
2018 Feytit-Clinet – The truffle, dark cocoa, black cherry and plum core comes alive easily. The wine is pure silk and sexiness on the palate with opulent textures and sweet, earthy plums in the finish. The wine is made from a blend of 94% Merlot and 6% Cabernet Franc. 94 – 96 Pts
2018 Gazin – Already offering its earthy truffle side, the fruits are soft, floral, polished, sweet, and plummy. Elegant and rich, this is a fine example of Gazin delivering a serious dose of cocoa dusted kirsch in a graceful finish. The wine is made from blending 93% Merlot with 7% Cabernet Franc. 94 – 96 Pts
2018 Gombaude Guillot – Medium bodied, ripe, round and forward with dark chocolate covered red berries, this wine is fresh and easy to drink. 88 – 90 Pts
2018 Guillot Clauzel – The debut vintage for Chateau Guillot Clauzel with Guillaume Thienpont at the helm is a strong first effort. The wine is medium bodied and plummy with licorice, truffle, espresso and ripe black cherry. Round, juicy and polished with freshness in the sweet red fruits and a hint of leafy herbs in the finish, the texture in the end note is smooth, soft and silky. 92 – 94 Pts
2018 Hosanna – Truffle, chocolate, plum, smoke and earthy notes come through easily. Rich, full bodied, silky, concentrated and loaded with polished, velvety, chocolate-drenched plum and truffle, this is exquisite. Give it 7-9 years before pulling a cork and this will be a cellar treasure. 96 – 98 Pts
2018 La Cabanne – Richly colored, the wine pops from the nose with flowers, cocoa, thyme and red fruits. Soft, polished, fruity and silky, this is a solid wine from La Cabanne. 91 – 93 Pts
2018 La Clemence – Medium bodied, round and loaded with espresso and cherry notes, the red fruit is ripe but the oak at the moment is the dominant character. 85 – 87 Pts
2018 Croix du Casse – Medium-bodied, floral and plummy, you’ll find a soft, silky mid-palate and a red cherry, licorice and plum finish. The wine blends 93% Merlot with 7% Cabernet Franc. 89 – 91 Pts
2018 La Croix St. Georges – Flowers, truffle and fresh green herbs along with ripe cherries and vanilla produce the perfume. Round, supple, forward and lush, the wine serves up a perky cherry and plum finish. Give this five years or so before opening a bottle. The wine was produced from blending 94% Merlot and 6% Cabernet Franc, reaching 13.9% alcohol. 91 – 93 Pts
2018 La Fleur de Gay – No effort is needed to detect the flowers, plum and licorice packed perfume. Dark in color with lush, silky, textured fruit, the finish with its chocolate covered black raspberry and dark cherry hits all the right notes. 93 – 95 Pts
2018 La-FleurPetrus – Black cherry, boysenberry, roses, lilacs, truffle and spice are at work here. On the palate, the wine is pure lavish velvet. Elegance and power are in balance with layers of decadently textured chocolate liqueur soaked plums that linger til dawn. In a decade this will be off the hook! 97 – 99 Pts
2018 La Grave Pomerol – Medium bodied, silky, forward and soft, this wine has refined charm and sophistication packed with earthy, ripe plums and chocolate. This is a solid example of Pomerol that’s not going to break the bank. 90 – 92 Pts
2018 La Patache – Fresh and forward, soft and plummy, this floral pour is round and fruity and will be easy to drink on release. The wine was made from blending 85% Merlot and 15% Cabernet Franc. 87 – 89 Pts
2018 La Pointe – With cherry blossoms and a touch of oak in the nose, the wine is medium bodied, forward and fresh. Most likely enjoyable on release, this wine is made from blending 74% Merlot and 26% Cabernet Franc. 88 – 90 Pts
2018 Lafleur – Let’s get this out of the way from the start: No risk, no fun. Right? This is the wine of the vintage! There, I said it. Now, let me explain why… On the palate, you encounter serious levels of weight and density. However, before you get there you’re greeted with scintillating truffle, licorice, plum, cherry liqueur, smoke and earthy aromatics. Clearly the wine is powerful, fresh and exotic with its mélange of incredibly ripe, red and black cherry fruits. Voluptuous and mouth-filling, the wine covers your palate with fleshy plums that remain a presence for close to 60 seconds. The purity in the fruit is crazy good. There is no doubt this is one of the great vintages of Lafleur. Could it be the best ever? Time will tell — lots of time as it will take at least 15 years before you should even consider popping a cork. Lafleur is never a wine to drink young; it takes time to show its essence. This very special wine was produced from a blend of 54% Cabernet Franc, 46% Merlot, reaching 14.5% with a pH of 3.65. The Merlot was harvested From September 12 to October 4. 98 – 100 Pts
2018 Pensees de Lafleur – The strikingly pure kirsch stands out here. It’s sweet, ripe and earthy with a hit of dark cocoa on top. In texture, the wine is fresh, sumptuous and polished. Give this few years to age allowing the wine to expand and soften and enjoy it for 10-12 years after that. Made from a blend of 54% Merlot picked September 21 and 46% Cabernet Franc harvested October 4. 92 – 94 Pts
2018 Lafleur-Gazin – Black cherry, licorice, wet earth and a touch of smoke on the nose opens the perfume. The wine is medium bodied, elegant, soft and fresh with a plummy, cocoa and coffee bean sensation in the finish. This is one of the best vintages I’ve tasted of La Fleur Gazin. Give it a few years in the bottle before pulling a cork. 90 – 92 Pts
2018 Lagrange-Pomerol – A forward, medium-bodied, early-drinking Pomerol with a core of flowers, cocoa, plum and cherry. Soft, bright and spicy, this will be best in its first decade of life. 87 – 89 Pts
2018 LatourPomerol – Elegant, silky, opulent, polished and sensuous, this is Pomerol! The concentrated plum and black cherry fruits are refined, fresh and velvety with the right amount of chocolate, espresso and truffle to boot. This is the best Latour Pomerol since the sublime 1970! 94 – 96 Pts
2018 Le Gay – Full-bodied, concentrated and abundant in depth, this wine balances its power, grace, elegance with ribbons of ripe, dark, red pit fruits from start to finish. The fruit comes in gradations, building and expanding on your palate — and it just doesn’t quit. The plummy finish rocks! Give this 7-9 years, allowing the wine to soften, flesh out and encourage the truffles, flowers and chocolate to unfold. The wine is made from blending 90% Merlot with 10% Cabernet Franc and is 100% vinified in barrels. The harvest took place September 19-October 3. Less than 1,500 cases are produced so if you want the wine you need to buy it early. 96 – 98 Pts
2018 Manoir de Gay – Forward, medium-bodied, earthy, this wine swings to the licorice/black cherry side of the style range with just a hint of cocoa. Drink this young while waiting for its big brother to evolve. 89 – 91 Pts
2018 Le Moulin – With its citrus and floral character, you also find ripe, dark red fruits and espresso bean on the front and the back end. Medium bodied and soft in texture, you can drink this early in life. 87 – 89 Pts
2018 Le Pin – Flowers, dried, red pit fruit and a touch of citrus open the nose. The wine is sensuous, even exotic in its texture. Medium-full bodied, there is a touch of chocolate making a cameo and the finish brings in spice and citrus tints to the opulent red fruits. The wine was produced from 100% Merlot reaching 14.5% alcohol. Due to the higher level of alcohol this year cultivated yeasts were used in the fermentation process for the very first time. 96 – 98 Pts
2018 LEgliseClinet – Dark in color, the wine is full bodied, fleshy, concentrated, opulent and tannic. The truffle, violets, black cherry and cocoa are captivating and when it flows over the palate this wine is beautifully empowered by a thick garland of flamboyant ripe berries. Made from blending 90% Merlot and 10% ( you left out the grape), the wine reached 14.5% alcohol and is aging in 70% new, French oak. The harvest took place September 18 to September 28. 96 – 98 Pts
2018 La Petite Eglise – Flowers, black cherry, cocoa and juicy plums are served with ease in this medium bodied, silky, refined, soft, elegantly earthy charmer. The wine is a blend of 80% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Franc. 91 – 93 Pts
2018 LEnclos – Forward, soft and vinified for early approachability, here you’ll find red plums, espresso, spice box and floral scents. Medium-bodied and elegantly styled, enjoy this in its youth for the purity of the silky, sweet, red fruits. The wine was made from a blend of 88% Merlot and 12% Cabernet Franc, reaching 14% alcohol. 89 – 91 Pts
2018 Maillet – Plummy with overtones of vanilla, flowers, black raspberries and truffle, the wine is well-dressed, melodious, medium-bodied and serves up a respectable core of ripe, red fruits in the supple textured finish. 92 – 94 Pts
2018 Mazeyres – Medium bodied, fruity, slightly overripe and plummy, this forward wine is an early drinker. 87 – 89 Pts
2018 Montviel – Plummy and floral, the wine is sophistication and freshness. Medium-bodied and jam-packed with sweet black raspberries and licorice accents, the ripe, earthy plum and cherry fruits transport silkiness to the palate and into the finish. The wine is a blend of 80% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Franc. This is a serious value for the Pomerol region in 2018. Savvy shoppers should be all over this. 90 – 92 Pts
2018 Nenin – Fresh, juicy, bright and pure with lingering tannins and ripe, red pit fruits, licorice, spice and floral notes, this wine is pleasingly polished, refined and erudite. The sweetness in the fruits on the mid-palate really stands out this vintage. The wine is made from 63% Merlot and 37% Cabernet Franc, reaching 14.6% alcohol and is aging in 45% new French oak. 92 – 94 Pts
2018 Petit Village – Wild cherries, cocoa and licorice with wet, earthy nuances come to the surface with ease. Soft, round, and silky in the finish, the blend of 72% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc and 8% Cabernet Franc leaves with a bright, fresh, spicy red berry, thyme and floral end note. Give it 4-5 years of age and it will be a much better wine. 91 – 93 Pts
2018 Petrus – The color of the ancient and priceless Sunrise Ruby replete with ornate reflections of royal purple, this wine moves you. Its perfume begins with a lightning bolt of flowers, cocoa, truffle, licorice, black cherry and even blacker plums. On the palate, the wine is extraordinarily concentrated. The fruit tastes and feels darker than usual with more command, opulence, depth and length. The flavors are expansive, moving from plummy mid-palate to a spicy, licorice, dark chocolate, mint and kirschwasser finish that remains with you for well over 60 seconds! The wine reached 14.5% alcohol with a pH of 3.7. The harvest took place September 13-27 and the wine is aging in 50% new, French oak barrels. 98 – 100 Pts
2018 Plince – Medium bodied and round with a solid blast of bright, juicy plum, earth, thyme and cocoa. There is length but not a lot of finesse. Still, it is quite charming. 88 – 90 Pts
2018 Rouget – Black cherry and plums galore with espresso, licorice and spice box aromas that fuse well with the medium-bodied, soft, ripe berry palate. Give this 3-5 years for the oak to integrate and for the wine to gain in complexity. 90 – 92 Pts
2018 Sacre Coeur – Forward with lots of ripe, round fruits with freshness, herbs and peppery spice, this should be ready to drink shortly after release. The wine is produced from 100% Merlot. 87 – 89 Pts
2018 Saint-Pierre-Pomerol – Floral, earthy, medium-bodied and on the red plum side of the style range, the wine is soft and mildly showy with a mineral infused, red berry, classic finish. 89 – 91 Pts
2018 de Sales – Medium-bodied, lean, classic, floral and cherry filled, this bright wine offers a forward approach for early drinking. 85 – 87 Pts
2018 Taillefer – Medium bodied, soft and floral with a core of sweet, ripe cherries and cocoa, this elegant, lighter styled Pomerol will drink well in its youth. 88 – 90 Pts
2018 Trotanoy – I’m not sure why bottled decadence is not enough of a descriptor. For those that either want me to work harder or who wish to gain further insight into this wine or both, let’s begin with its inky color and the floral bouquet, which is something for the front window of the ritziest florist in town. The dark, red pit fruits offer intensity, purity and opulent textures not found in other wines. The depth in the finish is matched by the length. If you want to know what great Pomerol is all about, this wine is the prime example. Give it at least a decade or more before popping a cork. 98 – 100 Pts
2018 Vieux Chateau Certan – With a dark hue, the initial scent you’ll notice is the robust floral crux before discovering the truffle, spice, cocoa, black plum, red fruit and licorice. Elegant, polished, silky, refined with a gorgeous sense of purity in the fruit, the wine has density but it also dances on tiptoe. The 2018 is a striking expression of Pomerol with a mix of 70% Merlot and 30% Cabernet Franc. The wine reached 14.4% alcohol with a pH of 3.78. Picking took place September 19 to October 10 and 65% of the harvest was used to produce the Grand Vin. 98 – 100 Pts
2018 La Violette – Almost opaque ruby in color, this rare wine pops with truffles, violets, spice, lilacs, espresso, cherry and plum scented perfume. Exotic, erotic, sensuous, velvety and luxurious beyond belief, the wine combines intensity, complexity and hedonism with an organic flair. Posh and drenched with velvet, this is stunning in every sense of the word. I think 2018 could be the best vintage since 2010. Produced from 100% old vine Merlot, the wine reached 14% alcohol. The harvest took place September 24-28. Vinified entirely in barrel, there are only 425 cases in total. Make that 424, as I am buying one! So if you want this decadent stunner in your cellar, you’ll need to move quickly. 97 – 99 Pts
2018 Vray Croix de Gay – Truffle, cocoa, cherry and juicy plums start the show. Soft and silky with a nice polish to the tannins and freshness to the fruit, the wine finishes with chocolate covered cherries and earthy, dark pit fruits. 92 – 94 Pts
2018 Lalande de Pomerol is not at the same level as Pomerol. However, the chateau in Neac, with their rich clay soils produced some very good, rich, opulent wines with Pomerol character.
2018 de Bel-Air – Floral and plummy in nature, the wine is forward, medium bodied, silky and fresh, with a bright red pit fruit personality that will drink well on release. 87 – 89 Pts
2018 Chambrun – If you are look for an early drinking, lush Pomerol look-alike, you found it. Ripe, juicy plums, plush textures and the right amount of chocolate and licorice to round everything out. 88 – 90 Pts
2018 Enclos de Viaud – Easy drinking, forward, soft, accessible, delicious charmer with ripe, sweet fruits that is perfect for early drinking pleasure. 86 – 88 Pts
2018 La Chenade – The forward, plum and floral wine is medium-bodied, round, soft and already delicious. You can enjoy this on release. 87 – 89 Pts
2018 La Fleur de Bouard – The earthy, dark chocolate, licorice, black cherry and floral aromatics are just great, But it is on the silky, palate that you really get into the wine. The opulent fruits, freshness and velvet tannins in a restrained style works this year. The wine is made from blending 70% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Franc and 15% Cabernet Sauvignon. 91 – 93 Pts
2018 La Fleur de Bouard Le Plus – Dark in color, the wine offers intensity, opulent, silky textures and layers of ripe, velvety plums and cherries, The fruits are sweet, ripe and rich, as well as accompanied by dark cocoa, black cherry, licorice, smoke, wet earth and espresso. This is going to be much better with at least 5 years of age. The wine is always made from 100% old vine Merlot. 93 – 95 Pts
2018 La Graviere – Medium bodied, forward, soft and with a core of chocolate covered plums, the wine is round, sweet, polished and perfect for early drinking pleasure. 87 – 89 Pts
2018 Les Cruzelles – Earthy, forest aromas with leaf, mint, and cherries from start to finish, the wine is medium-bodied, soft, silky and perfect for early drinking, with its fresh, sweet, red plum attributes. 90 – 92 Pts
2018 Le Lion La Fleur de Bouard – Forward, medium-bodied, easy drinking, crowd pleaser that is perfect for early drinking pleasure and for restaurants. 86 – 88 Pts
2018 Pavillon Beauregard – Dark in color, the wine has fruit, and the red berries are ripe, and even better, it is made in an early drinking style, so you can enjoy it on release. 86 – 88 Pts
2018 Sabines – Licorice, black cherry, smoke and oak add to the medium-bodied, fruity, forward, cherry charm. Drink this early for its fruit and freshness. 87 – 89 Pts
2018 Siaurac – Chocolate mint and ripe plums are in the nose and on the silky soft, medium-bodied, forward palate. Give this just a few years in the cellar for more softness and complexity. 90 – 92 Pts