Château La Conseillante, Pomerol
The vineyard benefits from a unique clay-dominated terroir and is planted to 80% Merlot which brings roundness, fullness and sweetness. The remaining 20% (in Graves) is planted to Cabernet Franc which brings structure and freshness to the blend.
From vine to winery, La Conseillante uses organic practices, or lutte raisonnée, controlled yields, strict sorting and replanting to optimise the opulence and elegance of the finished wine.
The Nicolas family bought the domain in 1871. The Château is managed by the fifth generation of the Nicolas family. Bertrand Nicolas and Jean-Valmy Nicolas are co-managers of La Conseillante. Marielle Cazaux is the Director.
The 2020 La Conseillante was picked September 14–17 for the Merlot and September 21–30 for the Cabernet Franc (eight picking days), the yields coming in at 37hl/ha, and matured in 70% new oak. Of the 13 parcels, four underwent vinification intégrale this year. Iridescent purple in color. The nose makes an immediate impression, delivering pure and quite precocious black currants and crushed iris flowers; subtle touches of morello cherries develop with aeration. It is beautifully defined and the oak seamlessly integrated. The palate is medium-bodied with succulent, ripe tannins that disguise the backbone of this exquisitely balanced Pomerol. A discreet crescendo leads to a pixelated finish of awe-inspiring persistency. The old "iron fist in a velvet glove" cliché rings true here. A deeply impressive and quite profound La Conseillante courtesy of Marielle Cazaux and her team.
(96-98) points, Vinous (May 2021)
The 2020 Château La Conseillante is a blend of 87% Merlot and 13% Cabernet Franc that saw the Merlot brought in between September 4 and 17 and the Cabernet Franc from the 21st to the 30th of September. Still resting in 70% new barrels, it's a juicy, vibrant Pomerol in every sense and has a vivid purple color to go with a great nose of blueberries, cassis, spring flowers, and violets. Showing the vintage's rich, concentrated, yet also pure and straight style, this beauty is full-bodied, has flawless balance, and terrific tannins. It’s another gorgeous wine from Marielle Cazaux that will require a solid decade of bottle age, but it will see its 30th birthday in fine form.
(96-98) points, JebDunnuck.com (May 2021)
The 2020 La Conseillante is a supremely elegant, restrained wine that shows the continued move toward finesse here. Silky and gracious, it’s wonderfully classy from start to finish. Lavender, mint, spice and mocha complement the purplish berry fruit nicely, all framed by bright saline and mineral notes that lend energy. Today, the 2020 is quite reserved, with less opulence than some previous vintages. It's the sort of wine that is shy in its youth and then explodes with years in bottle. Yields were just under 40 hectoliters per hectare, very much in line with years like 2016, for example. Harvest took place September 4–19 for the Merlot and 21–30 for the Franc, more or less in line with what has become the norm of late. As usual, the malos were done in steel. Aging is 70% new oak, 27% once-used barrels and 3% amphora. It's a brilliant effort from Technical Director Marielle Cazaux and her team.
(94-97) points, Vinous (June 2021)
There are some beautifully fragrant floral aromatics here with concentration through the mid palate and effortless balance. A little more width and opulence in the 2019 perhaps, but here you get precision and purity, and a feeling of 2010 levels of concentration. An elegant 2020, bright, confident, bursting with life. 70% new oak. A yield of 39hl/ha. 3.67pH. Gravel and clay soils, and to keep freshness they left crop cover on the old vines but on the young ploughed it into the soil so as not to have too much competition for the water. Lowered canopy also but kept shade and leaves around the bunches to protect from the sun. Picked early morning from 7am to noon, harvest of Merlot September 4 to 17, and the Cabernet Franc on September 21 and 30. Drinking Window 2027 - 2043
96 points, Decanter (May 2021)
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.