|Sub-district||Pomerol & Lalande de Pomerol|
100% Merlot. At once tender and intense. So supple and yet so 'upright'. Great purity, a mouth-hugging supple voluminous texture, long and calmly concentrated. A bit of a knockout. Drinking range: 2027 - 2047 Rating: 95-97 L&S (Apr 2017)
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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. Drinking range: 2023 - 2053 Rating: 99 Jeb Dunnuck, www.jebdunnuck.com (Feb 2019)
The 2016 Le Pin was made from ten different lots from 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. Tasted twice with consistent notes. Drinking range: 2022 - 2050 Rating: 96-98 Neal Martin, www.vinous.com (Apr 2017)
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! Drinking range: 2025 - 2043 Rating: 19 Jancis Robinson OBE MW - www.JancisRobinson.com (Apr 2017)
Château Le Pin
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.
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