Having never been there, I can’t corroborate it, but I understand Pomerol is one of the most monocultural and boring landscapes around. Who would think!? Bordeaux takes shape in my mind as the land of fairytale chateaux and rolling hills. Apparently though while Pomerol’s wines are renowned, the fame is attached to the name and not the scenery.
During the Hundred Years War (between England and France, 1337-1453), the vineyards which had been established on this infertile land by the Romans were abandoned for the most part. They were replanted in the 16th century, but didn’t attract any attention until the Belgians started importing Pomerol wines in the early 1900s.
Wine merchants based in close-by Libourne marketed these wines along with other Right Bank wines in Paris, Belgium and Holland and eventually the world ‘discovered’ Pomerol wines, including famous Chateau Petrus in the 1950s.
The finest wines of Pomerol are grown on the highest parts of the plateau and this one comes from a property located on the plateau itself. The soils are particularly suited to plump, lushly fruity, early ripening Merlot being comprised of clay layered with gravel. There is more sand in them the further west one goes. The subsoil here has a lot of iron in it – apparently this is what Ch. Petrus has a great deal of.
Yields in Pomerol are amongst the lowest in Bordeaux and this helps produce wines that can be drunk young but that may also be held for decades. Merlot accounts for 80% of all plantings in this region of Bordeaux which can be nerve-wracking in those years when spring frost kills the early ripening Merlot vines. This wine is 95% Merlot with the rest Cabernet Franc.
Pomerol is widely acclaimed as one of Bordeaux’s great wine appellations, but yet it has no official classification system. Many of the properties are very humble and produce only 1-2 or maybe 3000 cases of wine a year. Its most famous Chateaux include Le Pin and Petrus.
This wine from the Chateau La Croix de Gay (not to be confused with the better known La Fleur de Gay) is clear and bright, deep ruby (almost garnet) and has noticeable legs. The nose is clean and developing with medium plus intensity, aromas of big, black fruit (Damson plum, blackberry), red fruit (cranberry, black cherry), black olives, pencil shaving and vanilla with slight vine.
The palate is dry with medium + acidity, medium + alcohol and medium + grippy tannins. It has medium + intensity of deep plum, blueberry, boysenberry and cassis, tar, Dutch licorice, lead, cedar and leaf. The finish is medium plus.
This is a ‘Very Good’ deeply lush wine with solid balance and complexity. The acidity and tannins are in coordination with the fruit and length. Drink it now and enjoy as we did with steak, grilled veg and AWall’s fresh tarragon butter on french bread or hold for 3-5 more.