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.
A blend of 68% Merlot and 32% Cabernet Franc raised in 40% new oak, the 2020 Château Nenin brings the intensity up a notch, offering a rock star nose of cassis and darker berries as well as crushed stone, graphite, chocolate, and violets. The purity is spot on and it has a precise, focused texture that's very much in the vintage, flawless balance, and a great finish. It's another gem of a Pomerol in the vintage readers will love to have in the cellar. For the tech geeks out there, the alcohol reached 14% and the pH was 3.65 with an IPT of 76.
(94-97) points, JebDunnuck.com (May 2021)
A blend of 68% Merlot (harvested 8th to 16th September) and 32% Cabernet Franc (harvested 21st to 23rd September), the 2020 Nenin is aging in French oak barriques, 40% new. It has an alcohol of 14%, a pH of 3.65 and an IPT (tannin index) of 76. Deep purple-black in color, it glides effortlessly out of the glass with wonderfully pure notes of crushed blueberries, fresh blackberries and ripe red and black plums, plus suggestions of lavender, star anise and Ceylon tea with a waft of cast-iron pan. The medium-bodied palate is fantastically elegant and beautifully poised, featuring exquisitely ripe, fine-grained tannins and bold freshness to support the perfumed red and black fruit layers, finishing long and mineral laced. A real head-turner!
(94-96)+ points, Wine Advocate (May 2021)
68% Merlot, 32% Cabernet Franc. Cask sample.
Deep colour. Purer and more lifted than Fugue with graphite and dark-fruit notes. Juicy and textured on the palate, the fruit plush and the tannins velvety and fine-grained. More sensual and Pomerol-esque than in the past.
17 points, James Lawther, JancisRobinson.com (April 2021)
The 2020 Nénin now comes exclusively from the Pomerol plateau. It was picked September 8–16 for the Merlot and September 21–23 for the Cabernet Franc, and raised in 40% new oak. Whereas the Fugue de Nénin is open and expressive, clearly the Grand Vin cares little for showing its wares at this early stage, remaining tight-lipped for an hour before almost reluctantly opening with blackberry, thyme and gravelly scents, all well defined and focused. The palate is medium-bodied with sappy black fruit and a fine bead of acidity. The Cabernet Franc imparts welcome pepperiness toward the latter half – not a million miles away from Trotanoy. This trait turns more toward a pencil lead note with continued aeration. A serious Pomerol that deserves 5–7 years in the cellar, but has the substance to give 30 years of drinking pleasure.
(92-94) points, Vinous (May 2021)
The 2020 Nénin impresses with its density and backbone. At the same time, the 2020 possesses terrific freshness. As always, Nénin has a high percentage of Cabernet Franc (32%). At times, the Merlot and Franc aren't so well put together in the early going, but that is not at all an issue in 2020. I especially admire the wine's focus and overall sense of vibrancy. A host of floral, savory and mineral notes linger on the salivating finish. There's plenty to look forward to here.
(92-94) points, Vinous (June 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.