With a history going back to 1975, Clinet is one of the oldest vineyards in Pomerol. Situated close to Lafleur and Pétrus, it’s 11 hectares is planted to 88% Merlot, 11.5% Cabernet Sauvignon and 0.5% Cabernet Franc. And while Jean Michel Arcaute (who died suddenly 2001) and Michel Roland took Client to new heights in the 1990s harvesting later and using 100% new oak, it's been under the direction of Ronan Laborde (whose family purchased Client in 1998) that through new high-density plantings and reducing the amount of new oak, Clinet has become even more complex and concentrated.
Deep garnet-purple coloured, the 2017 Clinet opens slowly to reveal vibrant red and black fruits: red currants, black cherries, plums and cassis with touches of roses, yeast extract, wood smoke and crushed rocks. Medium-bodied with firm, grainy tannins and a taut, muscular palate of tightly wound fruits and compelling mineral accents, it finishes long with wonderful purity and fragrant earth accents. Ronan Laborde, head of Château Clinet, mentioned, 'We lost in total around 15% of the crop at Clinet in 2017. We received a little damage on the last night of the frosts -- going down the plateau toward Feytit-Clinet'. The final lithe, energetic blend came in at just 13.1% alcohol. 'We don’t use any concentration methods here', Laborde said. They are also using more 500-litre barrels for the élevage, wanting 'the impact of oak to be as soft as possible'. I have to say I’ve been incredibly impressed with the subtle evolution of Clinet in recent years, revealing an incredibly elegant and sensuous side to the site with incredible purity and depth. 92-94 points, Wine Advocate.
"Black core. Lovely dense aroma of black fruit and graphite, really savoury/mineral, with graphite dominant at the moment. Much more juicy than I expected on the palate. Plenty of dark fruit but only just fresh enough. Drink 2024-2032"
16 points, Julia Harding MW for jancisrobinson.com
"The 2017 Clinet was picked from 19 to 26 September for the Merlot and on 29 September for the Cabernets at 35hl/ha. It is matured in 72% new oak and the remainder one-year-old. The alcohol is 13.1° compared to say 14.4° for 2016. It has a perfumed bouquet with mainly red berry fruit, top notes of loam and a touch of violet. It is certainly well defined. The palate is medium-bodied with supple tannin, well delineated, and saline in the mouth. It is quite open towards the finish, perhaps with less grip than other Pomerols that I have tasted, but it is undeniably elegant and well balanced with a hint of cured meat cropping up on the aftertaste. Classic Clinet!"
92-94 points, Neal Martin.
"Some green-olive and herb character. Medium body, firm tannins and a fresh finish. Shows some solid and linear length on the finish."
92-93 points, James Suckling
Pomerol, on the Right Bank of Bordeaux’s Gironde River, produces some of the world’s most sought-after wines, including those from such storied properties as Chateau Petrus. Yet Pomerol, the smallest of the fine-wine-producing districts of Bordeaux, offers no Grand Cru or Premier Cru wines: It’s the most significant Bordeaux appellation not included in any quality ranking. At the time of the historic 1855 Classification of Bordeaux, Right Bank chateaux were considered remote and difficult to travel to, and so were ignored by the merchants who created the classification. (St. Émilion, a notable neighbour on the Right Bank, created its own classification system in 1954.)
Pomerol has managed to do quite well without this form of validation. Pomerol’s predominantly clay soil is ideally suited for Merlot, the primary grape used in the appellation. Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon are also included in Pomerol’s blended red wines. The wines of Pomerol are lush and rich, and generally not as tannic as the Cabernet-based wines of Bordeaux’s Left Bank. Although Pomerol’s very best wines are capable of aging for decades, most are made for immediate consumption. These Merlot-based wines are known for their lush texture, elegance and grace, as well as the softer tannins they offer in comparison to the Cabernet Sauvignon-based wines made elsewhere in Bordeaux.