One of the most expensive Bordeaux wines - and indeed, one of the priciest anywhere - Le Pin is a surprisingly recent arrival on the global stage, with its first vintage having been produced just decades ago in 1979. Originally priced at a modest 700 francs, the praise garnered by the 1982 vintage propelled Le Pin into the global limelight, with sales from that point on par with - or exceeding - those of First Growth Bordeaux wines.
An exotic style of Bordeaux, Le Pin possesses a resplendent, lavish mouth-feel with intensely ripe fruit aromas and hints of smoke on the palate.
The 2016 Le Pin was made from 10 different lots rather than the usual six, because the drought affected the different parcels and vines needed separating (indicated by paint mark on the pole). It was cropped from 4 October, the first time that picking has begun that month, at 28-30 hectoliters per hectare and there is 14.5% alcohol. It has a fresh and generous bouquet with red cherries, cranberry and pomegranate scents, the oak beautifully integrated, touches of black truffle and even a hint of smoke tucked in just underneath. The palate is medium-bodied with filigree tannin, tightly wound and taut, with a stunning sense of focus. I cannot remember a Le Pin with such tension and detail at this early juncture, perhaps even quite understated towards the saline finish, but very very precise. This is a sophisticated Le Pin from Jacques Thienpont, one that I am certain will age with style. Drink 2022-2050. 96-98 points, The Wine Advocate
There is something decadent and wild about this Le Pin. Medium to full body, yet somehow wild and crazy – exotic. What a finish! This is real Le Pin. The dry weather reduced the production. 18 hectoliters. Reminds me of the unique 1986. Yeah...! 99 points, jamessuckling.com
'The 2016 Le Pin is an extraordinarily beautiful vivid wine. Seamless, racy and voluptuous in the glass, the 2016 is a flat-out stunner. Nothing in particular stands out because all of the elements are in perfect balance. A wine of captivating, transcendental beauty, Le Pin has it all. Rose petal, red cherry, mint, blood orange and wild flowers all build in the glass, but it is the wine's breathtaking finesse and elegance that stand out most. What a gorgeous, arrestingly beautiful wine this is. 2026-2051'
99 points, Vinous.
‘Don’t touch this for 15 years,’ Jacques Thienpont warned tasters during en primeur. It’s certainly a bold, textured, concentrated Pomerol with plum, fig, blackberry and ginger spice notes, firm tannins and scented oak. Set for a long life. Drink 2026-2038. 97 points, timatkin.com
Glowing crimson. Smudgy sweet ink on the nose. Very pure nose. Lifted and lively and real energy. Round and quite delicate and burgundian. Real drive and elegance and polish. This is a real winner! Drink 2025-2043. 19/20 points, jancisrobinson.com
I tasted through a blend of five barrels, but they may not be the final ones. There is signficant gravel in the Le Pin soils, so they suffered a little from the heat, but the Merlot still has incredible finesse and elegance. The astonishing thing is the grilled, smoked damson and ripe wild blackberry and hawthorn perfume that rises out of the glass effortlessly. This wine is deft, elegant, and rich. A naturally low yield of 28hl/ha due to the drought, with a pH of 3.72. Drink 2027-2050. 98 points, Decanter.
"The 2016 Le Pin was cropped at 28hl/ha and bottled at the end of June 2018. Fiona Morrison opined that the rain from January to June suited Le Pin’s gravelly soils, perhaps more than the previous vintage. This has an extremely pure, nuanced bouquet that unfolds swirl by swirl, revealing black cherries, crushed violet petals, hints of raspberry coulis and a touch of vanilla. The palate is medium-bodied with supple tannin, very well focused and almost symmetrical. The 14.5° alcohol is one of the highest levels for Le Pin, though it is completely disguised. There is firm structure and grip to the uncharacteristically masculine finish that suggests it will require several years in bottle. 2024-2050"
97 Points, Vinous
"I am spellbound by the aromas of crushed blackberries, licorice, black tea and violets. It’s full-bodied yet so intense and linear. Powerful tannins with superb polish and focus give an amazing texture. Complex and fascinating flavors of hazelnuts and dark fruit. The balance and strength is uncanny. Perfect wine. Very direct and superb. Try after 2025."
100 Points, JamesSuckling.com
From Jacques Thienpont and a true superstar in the vintage, the 2016 Le Pin comes from a tiny vineyard of old vine Merlot and is raised all in new barrels. One of those magical wines that marries power with elegance perfectly, its saturated purple color is followed by a thrilling array of sweet kirsch, crème de cassis, graphite, toasty oak, and Asian spices. Hitting the palate with full-bodied richness and depth as well as an incredible mid-palate, it stays ethereal and elegant, with flawless tannins, awesome purity, and a blockbuster of a finish. The sexiest, kinkiest, most opulent wine in the vintage? I’d say yes. Do your best to hide bottles for 4-6 years, count yourself very lucky, and drink bottles over the following 3+ decades.
99 points, jebdunnuck.com (February 2019)
The medium to deep garnet-purple colored 2016 Le Pin is still very closed, revealing glimpses of preserved plums, blackberry pie and raspberry compote plus suggestions of potpourri, star anise, tobacco, fenugreek and stewed tea plus a waft of hoisin. The medium-bodied palate is opulent, rich and plush with layers of black and red fruit preserves and loads of exotic spice accents, finishing very long and very decadent.
98+ points, Wine Advocate (December 2018)
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.