96-100/100 Robert Parker Jr.
Proprietor Denis Durantou has again produced one of Bordeaux’s most profound wines, which seems to be happening routinely at this tiny estate on the Pomerol plateau. Opaque purple to the rim, with a wonderfully sweet nose of mulberry and black fruit, hints of mocha and caramel, and some subtle background oak, the 2010 is very expansive, multi-dimensional, with stunning purity, richness and equilibrium. The finish is very long, with significant tannins, but they are beautifully integrated. This is a massive L’Eglise Clinet that will need 8-10 years of cellaring at the very minimum, and should keep for 40+ years.
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.