Pomerol AOC is one of the world’s most sought after red wines and comes from the right bank of the Bordeaux region. Pomerol became an AOC in 1936, having been given its own delimitation separate from neighbouring Saint-Emilion in 1923. Pomerol is often made predominantly from Merlot, plus minor additions of Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon, although some estates, such as Château Lafleur for example have Cabernet Franc comprising around half of the blend.
Symbol: The Knight Templars’ Maltese cross has been adopted by Pomerol’s wine growers’ syndicate.
Vineyard area & wine production: 2002 c800ha. 27,300hl of red (Guide Hachette des Vins 2004, p.247).
Geography: ‘There is no town to Pomerol, merely shed and shutter-filled hamlets like Maillet, Moulinet and Pignon which now straddle the Libourne-Périgueux road. The Pomerol region is bordered to the north by the little Barbanne river (the most important tributary of the Isle and on the other side of which lie Lalande and Néac and thus the Lalande de Pomerol AOC), to the east by Saint Emilion, to the south by the Libourne-Bergerac railway line and the town of Libourne and to the west by the D910 Libourne-Angoulême road,’ (Bordeaux Unfiltered).
Terroir: ‘The Pomerol vineyard comprises a succession of terraces, beginning on the sandy-shingle in the west around Libourne formed by the Isle river at 15m above sea level to suited to Cabernet Franc, via more Merlot-friendly cooler, clay-rich soils culminating at the high point (40 metres) on the Plateau de Certan on gravelly iron-rich clay,’ (Bordeaux Unfiltered).
Viticulture: ‘The fertile nature of Pomerol’s clay soils means green pruning is not the answer to excess vine vigour here,’ oenologist Marc Quertinier told me at Domaine de Gamage on 21st April 2004.
Biodiversity & bad drainage: Claude Bourguignon told me in 1997 that one way of spotting Bordeaux vineyards whose soils were lacking in microbial life due to excess use of weedkillers, fertiliser and so on was winter flooding. “Bordeaux experiences such high levels of rainfall that by rights it should not be a wine region at all. But Bordeaux is lucky to be a region of sandy, gravel soils which drain really easily, to keep the vine roots dry enough for the plant to ripen its grapes. But now if you go to Pomerol for example in winter you will see vines swimming in deep water. This is because the fauna in the soil which usually create myriad tiny galleries or air-pockets through which rain water can circulate freely are no longer present,’ (Source: Biodynamic Wines by Monty Waldin (Mitchell Beazley, 2006 (revised edition), p.187).
Wine style: ‘Pomerol is often described as if it were a Renaissance nude: opulent, powerful, fleshy, soft, generous and round. Yet even though Pomerol is the smallest of the great Bordeaux regions, no single style of brushwork dominates. Pomerol’s terroir is so diverse and the bottles of wine produced are so expensive that to assume Pomerol is simple to understand merely because its vineyard area is so tiny is the easiest but most financially ruinous mistake that a buyer of claret can make. The Merlot shows a juniper richness overlaid by truffle and plum. Cabernet Franc (‘Bouchet’) shows a full colour coupled with a nose of rich brown sugar and dense liquorice layered tannin, more violet and less Christmas cakey than Cab Franc from nearly Saint-Emilion and far less austere than Médoc,’ (Bordeaux Unfiltered).
Tasting note: Blackcurrants, creamy, exotic, mint, mouthfilling, plummy, rich, seductive, velvety.
Certified organic: Cadet de Gombaude. | Château Beauregard. | Château Bellegrave à Pomerol. | Château des Jacobins. | Château Gombaude-Guillot. | Château L’Enclos. | Château L’Evangile. | Château La Croix Taillefer. | Château La Croix Toulifaut. | Château La Loubière.
No certification: Château Bonalgue. | Château Certan de May. | Château Certan-Giraud. | Château Certan Marzelle. | Château Clinet. | Château Clos du Clocher. | Château L’Eglise Clinet. | Château Feytit-Clinet. | Château Gazin. | Château Hosanna. | Château La Bassonnerie. | Château La Conseillante. | Château La Croix. | Château La Croix de Gay. | Château La Croix St Georges. | Château La Fleur Pétrus. | Château La Grave Trigant de Boisset. | Château Lafleur. | Château Lafleur du Roy. | Château Lagrange à Pomerol. | Château Latour à Pomerol. | Château Le Bon Pasteur. | Château Le Gay. | Château Le Pin. | Château Montviel. | Château Moulinet. | Château Nenin. | Château Petit-Village. | Château Pétrus. | Château Plince. | Château Rouget. | Château Trotanoy. | Clos du Roy. | Clos L’Eglise. | Clos L’Eglise Clinet. | Clos René. | Croix de Certan. | La Petite L’Eglise. | L’Hospitalet de Gazin. | Vieux Château Certan.
Bordeaux Unfiltered by Monty Waldin & Richard Kershaw MW (1997, unpublished).