Owned by the Despujol family since 1847, Château Nenin in Pomerol was considered an underperformer before Jean-Hubert and Michel Delon from Château Léoville-Las Cases purchased the property from their cousins (by marriage) in 1997. In 1999, the Delons added 4 hectares of vines from Château Certain and in 2004 they renovated the Château and winery. These days the 32 hectares of vineyard are planted to 78% Merlot, 21% Cabernet Franc and 1% Cabernet Sauvignon (down from 20% in the 1990s) producing a much-improved wine that has more depth and much finer tannins.
"The 2017 Nenin is deep garnet-purple in colour and has quite an earthy nose of tar, black soil and fungi notions over a core of cassis and black plums. The palate is medium-bodied, firm and chewy with a racy line and grippy finish."
87-89 points, Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW
"10% lost to the frost (while Fugue de Nénin was 70% frosted so the volumes are too small for it to be sold en primeur in this vintage). 42% Cabernet Franc, 58% Merlot. Harvested 12–29 September. A little more Cabernet Franc than usual because the lower parts of Nénin were frosted. They did not use the fruit from second-generation buds (harvested 8–12 Oct) because it was not phenologically ripe. This is already the final blend. 6.7% press wine. 35% new oak. pH 3.75, IPT 70, TA (sulphuric) 3.43 g/l.
Very dark with purple crimson. Lifted, lightly floral aroma and a charming dusty overlay. Quite dark on the palate, savoury and dark-fruited but also scented on the mid-palate. Oak is well integrated. Creamy texture, elegant and beautifully balanced. Juicy finish and good freshness and length. 13.5% Drink 2025-2035"
17 points, Julia Harding MW for jancisrobinson.com
"The 2017 Nénin contains more Cabernet Franc this year because of the frost damage. The grapes were picked from 12 to 29 September although the team did go back to inspect the second generation frosted vines two weeks later but the tannins were unsatisfactory and the fruit abandoned. This means that the overall production was just 15.5hl/ha, matured in 35% new oak with the alcohol at 13.50°. The nose is fairly uncomplicated compared to the last two vintages: red fruit, briary and a touch of desiccated orange peel. The palate is medium-bodied with soft tannin, moderate depth, gentle in the mouth but missing a little structure towards the airy finish. It is a decent, early-drinking Nénin in the making although it lags behind the previous two vintages."
89-91 points, Neal Martin
"A creamy wine with a solid core of fruit and firm and silky tannins. Lots mineral and crushed-stone character. Full-bodied, rich and structured. Orange rind on the aftertaste. Less than 50% of the normal production. Solid finish."
93-94 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.