Château Le Pin

France, Bordeaux

Mme Loubie had owned a dilapidated house and a few vines, just north of Catusseau, for decades, selling the produce off to go into generic Pomerol blends. Little more than basic care had been taken of the vineyard, and most of the vines were rather old, whilst expensive insecticides and herbicides had been unaffordable. When Mme Loubie died in 1978, Jacques Thienpont spent the incredible sum of one million francs on the 1ha of vineyard and a tatty old house and chai. The first vintage of Le Pin was the 1979, aged in cast-off barrels from Vieux Château Certan. From 1981, Le Pin was aged in 100% new wood. 1982 was 1982, and the lavish praise heaped on Le Pin by Robert Parker (it’s a 100 point wine) and others propelled Le Pin into the big time. The original 1ha has slowly and surely been augmented by further adjoining purchases, taking the vineyard area up to 2.7ha. It is all the classic clay soil of the Pomerol plateau, with a high iron oxide content. Le Pin is always 100% Merlot. Le Pin is one of Bordeaux’s, indeed the world’s wine, icons with a reputation only matched by Petrus in Pomerol. Production is still tiny, and demand very high.